Affirmations Go a Long Way When Treating My Sons

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by Joe MacDonald |

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Affirmation: one word with significant connotations. From the day we come into this world, we seek an acknowledgment that our presence on this planet matters. To be affirmed by those around us reinforces the idea that our contributions to our community hold special significance. When we hear others give thanks for our service, we feel listened to and appreciated for what we offer to our world.

When I attended the Hemophilia Federation of America’s annual symposium last month, I never expected to feel affirmed by the bleeding disorders community. Instead, several of my blood brothers and sisters approached me and offered an appreciation for my Hemophilia News Today columns. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude as I responded to my friends. I explained that writing my column proves therapeutic as I struggle to find my way through the many issues of raising young men with hemophilia.

For me, affirmation offered by my peers helps reinforce my decisions and how I navigate the murky waters of a bleeding disorder. I find confidence in my abilities as a community leader, father, and friend when I receive positive responses concerning my thoughts and actions.

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When dealing with the effects of my sons’ bleeding episodes, such as continuous hospitalizations, chronic pain resulting from prolonged bleeding, or the lingering mental issues due to continued stress, we must have resources who continue to lift us up and bolster our resolve to fight. Support from family and friends bolsters our spirits and keeps us in the fight when faced with difficult circumstances.

I believe that receiving affirmation for my choices serves my soul in the medical world and in everyday life. I constantly doubt whether I made the right decision for my wife, sons, and myself. The voices in my head often prove vicious and unyielding. Hearing a positive word from a friend, confidant, or doctor helps ease the doubt that plagues me.

Knowing that affirmations have lasting effects on my psyche, I turn to my family and attempt to provide words of encouragement to my wife and sons. I hope to share with them what others so graciously gave to me. Words or hope prove infectious and can positively affect our loved ones. We must not just remain on the receiving end of confirmations, but we must offer words that spark hope in the lives of others. We must “pay it forward.”

Throughout the years, the most important moments I shared with healthcare professionals and the rest of those who tended to my children centered around the idea of feeling affirmed.

One of the greatest moments in my youngest son’s treatment occurred when our doctor asked us to take part in designing a road map of care for him. The information we offered as parents proved just as crucial as that needed on the medical side. It took a village to create the best course of action.

The plan also included the critical component of listening and respect as we charted the course of treatment. As a result, we felt affirmed by the medical team, and I hope they felt the same way.

As I think about the beautiful members of the bleeding disorders community and their kind words, I feel responsible for offering hope and assurance to those who struggle. I think of the affirmations that a newly diagnosed family needs to hear as they try to understand how to proceed with treatment. I think of the family who faces long-term hospital care while managing to maintain jobs and other functions necessary to keep moving forward.

I want to assure them that the decisions they must make on the fly are the right choices; they continue to do what is best for everyone involved. I want to tell them to continue forward and trust their instinct. I want to assure fathers and mothers that they have all the utensils they need to make the best choices for their families.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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