The Risks of Wait & See

The Risks of Wait & See

Imagine being told you have a life altering medical condition. Then, you are told that the best thing to do is nothing. To make schedule another appointment maybe half a year later for a review. This approach is known as “wait & see”, “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance”. It is fast becoming normal with increase in early detection from cutting edge scanning tools.

Wait & See is normally recommended in situations with a high-likelihood of self resolution or high uncertainty concerning diagnosis. For such, the risk of intervention or therapy may outweigh the outcome. Action is therefore delayed until continued monitoring reflects a reversal, whereby therapy/intervention benefits outweighs risk.

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Decision making is based on a tree, with indicators for the progression of the condition along with options to take at each stage. This is common for surgical cancer survivors, to whom recurrence is a significant concern. Also common for scoliosis, in cases too mild to be ethically braced. Or for those not severe enough to be ethically recommended correctional surgery. Don’t wait and watch your curve slowly get worse. Talk to us today to find the Align Brace suitable for you or your loved one.

Typical Emotional Responses to Wait & See

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Impatience- possibly the first emotional response throughout the process. Waiting for appointments, test, consults for confirmation of results and diagnose can wear down an individual. This impatience may spill over into other aspects of your life. Such as when you’re in the line for food or the bus. Or your loved one who is just as concerned over your condition dogging you for more information.

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Frustration- builds up with each hurdle you encounter through due processes. Imagine when you are told that your next appointment has to be delayed because the office has an outbreak of measles. Or if your specialised test needs 6 weeks to process. Sometimes this frustration can erupt. Be mindful around your closest and dearest as we are more likely to explode at them, over little slights, assuming they will understand the source of your frustrations and forgive you after.

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Anger- slowly bubbles up with prolonged impatience and/or frustration. Oft directed at the systems that govern the processes. Unfortunately, likely to manifest as shouting at service personnel. Try to channel this feeling into something productive, such as cooking a large meal for your loved ones (tenderising meat with a hammer can be therapeutic). Or a paintball excursion.

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Anxiety- general sense of unease and fear of the future. You spend hours staying up at night thinking how one diagnose may derail life as you know it. You think up the worst case scenarios and wonder how your family cope. Anxiety is a normal response in a fight or flight scenario, but when the perceived threats are in your head? Like with other emotions, anxiety may well spill over into other aspects of daily life. One may find it difficult to make decisions or complete daily tasks. May cause increased heart rate, rapid breathing and a panic feeling.

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Sadness and depression- with little or no control and feeling overwhelmed. A sense of hopelessness with no end in sight. All the above mentioned feelings can compound into a state of negativity eventually resulting in a breakdown. Other things to look out for include crying and lethargy for no reason. Which could lea to a loss of interest in hobbies and life in general.

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It’s difficult to maintain a positive outlook with wait&see. Mindful mediation will tame worrying and help an individual to focus more on the present. Anxious persons should keep company and someone to talk to for all procedures. At the same time, listen attentively to your loved one when they speak. Be kind to yourself and the person you are supporting through this processes.