March Madness? Huh?!? Yes, you’re in the place. You may be wondering what does March Madness have to do with coping with multiple diagnoses, right? Well keep on reading. This won’t be a sports lesson. I promise.
March madness is one of the most highly anticipated times of year for NCAA basketball fans. This is the time when you get your bracket ready and hope that you win that challenge at your job or with friends. You’ve watched all season long and made your predictions…and your bracket probably looks something like this.
(Image from NCAA.com)
Of course, you’d either have it pre-filled or if you’re more of a laid back basketball fan, you probably will just fill it in after each playoff game. Although I am a basketball fan, this year, the Madness of March hit me like a ton of bricks.
My March Madness
My bracket has one similarity and that’s a champion. My champion is also the MVP. My real life “bracket” looks like this.
If this is your first time reading one of my blogs, that is my daughter who is MY champion and MVP. Unlike the NCAA bracket, the diagnoses that you see are not competing with each other. Each one of those are part of my champion. But just like the players on the court, she fights everyday in her life to remain the champ.
In February, NCAA basketball teams spend more hours in the gym at practice preparing for their respective tournament before hoping to make their way onto someone’s NCAA bracket. Genell and I spent hours (and days) in the hospital in February. See those yellow squares on my “bracket?” Well that is what February looked like for me. All 3 of those diagnosis were given to Genell within a 1 week time frame. I’m sure any NCAA basketball player may tell you that February is one of their toughest months. And the reason for that is because they want to make it to March Madness.
Well that is no different for us. February was very difficult and stressful. To be told your child has not 1, not 2, but 3 new diagnosis is a tough pill to swallow. Similarly to how players have studied, played, and prayed their way to their tournament, Genell is doing the same thing in her life tournament. With those 3 new additions to her diagnosis list, here are a few things I have done to cope with it.
1. The Power of Hashtags #
7 out of 10 posts that you see on social media usually will include a hashtag. But did you know you can also do a hashtag search? You will be very surprised at what you find. Genell’s deletion is very rare, so it was like gold when I did a #Chromosome7deletion search. I found a mom who has a daughter with the same chromosome deletion. And come to find out, her daughter and Genell have a lot in common! So don’t be afraid to reach out because you never know who you will find! And trust me, if they’ve put a hashtag in their post, then they won’t be surprised if you tell them that you found them using a hashtag search.
2. Do your research!
When Genell got her seizure diagnosis, no one could really explain what was triggering them. I could’ve just been OK with the “mystery”, but I wanted to find as much information as I could. If you read any of my other blog posts, you may have seen where I’ve mentioned Genell and her GI issues. Well I thought back to the times when she had the seizures and low and behold, she was either super backed up, or she was in the process of getting rid of the “junk”. I happened to stumble across a case study that showed a possibility of constipation as a trigger for seizures. But it was just that…a case study. Not medical proof. However, now that I have done more research, I have more information that I can present to her doctor at her next neurology appointment.
3. Educate your support system
If you’re one of the lucky ones that has a support system, now is the time to educate them! If you don’t have a support system, well you do now. Hi! My name is Melanie 🙂 Go to my contact page and shoot me an email. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Education is so important. Just like you, they need to know and understand the signs of the diagnoses. Even if you’re not an expert on them (yet), tell them everything that you know. They will thank you and appreciate it especially if they spend lots of time helping you or giving you breaks.
April 2, 2018…
That date is the championship game for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. This is when March Madness comes to an end. Some players might get picked up to play professional ball, while others are going to rest for a few weeks and then get back on the court. But just like how I mentioned that my bracket looks different…so does the tournament. There is no championship game. Genell’s tournament lasts the rest of her life.
If you or you know someone dealing with multiple diagnoses, hopefully my few tips will help get you through some of your tough days. And if you’re also a NCAA basketball fan….best of luck to your team!
This blog is not affiliated with the NCAA.