Project Managing My Health Crisis
Project Managing My Health Crisis
On 9/10/11 I was stricken with a rare (1 in 50,000), and potentially deadly auto-immune disease that almost killed me. I’m almost completely recovered against all odds. I’d never been sick in my life so I knew nothing and, like in a business/tech environment, I had to learn a lot on the fly. I’ll eventually breakout more detail when I figure out the best way to present my story in a way that will best help others. Until then, what it boils down to for me is that a health crisis presents the ultimate project management challenge. There’s a big problem to solve, goals to achieve, milestones, inputs, outputs, variables, testing and outcomes.
My goal: to maximize all medical resources plus my physical conditioning and mindfulness training to be at an optimal state of health, as good as or better than, before the health crisis.
- personal beliefs and attitude
- diverse, aggressive treatments and procedures
- multiple professional care givers
- support from advocates, family and friends
- how I feel: physical, mental, emotional and meta-physical states; symptoms and side effects; changes in physical appearance and capabilities
- data: myriad quantitative and qualitative treatment plans and recommendations; test and procedures reports and results; conversations and instructions; care giver and advocates notes
- inputs and outputs continually changing
- disparate communication and data management systems, methods and styles
- errors and weak error tracking
Sounds like a high-stakes project, right? It is, because life and/or quality of life are at stake and, like in business, there are many stakeholders. Early on, when I was first released from the hospital I made the typical project management mistakes. I tried to control every detail, did not delegate, freaked out over errors and mistakes and was inflexible about timelines. I strived for, and expected perfection from, myself and everyone else. Fortunately, I quickly realized that I had to let go.
Letting go did not mean that I gave up, or did not work hard. Rather, it was a shift in my vantage point from “the one who must protect and care for herself”, to “the one who is always protected and cared for, and so very grateful for it”. Fortunately, making that shift was not an impossible leap of faith. I’d spent two decades investing in personal growth and development with exceptional teachers. I had the tools and mental training in addition to the physical conditioning of a master rower and the organizational and analytical abilities of a business woman.
I do believe, however, that health in consciousness is a vantage point available to anyone who is willing to meet a health crisis by standing in trust and renouncing doubt. The more I stayed in that shifted place, it became less about the problem to solve, that being the health crisis, and more about relatedness, shared humanity, vulnerability and new directions.
The world is in such a state of change that it can seem like everything is a problem. Its our nature to resist them and want them to go away with the force of our will. My health crisis came on so suddenly and severely that I had no time to feel that way but when I came out of ICU I was obsessed for days with escaping, and resisting and “getting it over with”. The problems kept mounting. Then I let go, aligned with the experience and let my love for everyone replace my resistance. From that moment on, the healing and the unexpected positive results surprised everyone but me. As Norman Vincent Peale said: “Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.”
Well I’ve been planting a lot of seeds from my health crisis. I’m open to whatever might grow. And most importantly, I’m having a lot of fun watering the garden.