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The Power of Knowledge

Monday, July 20, 2015

By Ellen Greenberg

I think that as CHD patients we may have more medical knowledge than the average person. It is said that knowledge is power. But as CHD patients, is this power helpful or hurtful? The more we know, the scarier our own personal situations can be. This knowledge can also be a helpful tool. I like to feel the positive—that it is power.

I have been waiting to have a cardiac catheterization and a liver biopsy. This was supposed to have happened two-and-a-half weeks ago. Just at the last second, there was an emergency and I was sent home. I have been sitting with my extensive knowledge for this extra period of time.

The extra time has been both calming and scary. Of course, it is easier to say that I know the facts and I’ll learn more afterwards. But when is it easy without learning this the hard way? I’ve spent days racking my brain over what they are going to find. Basically, I have my suspicions and so do my doctors. But my doctors don’t know for sure what they will find. So beating myself up over what could be is a waste of time and energy—both of which are unhelpful.

I am trying to use the knowledge I have in my favor rather than against it. For instance, while my doctors do not know what they will find, we know what we are looking for. It is also helpful to know that my procedure is a Tuesday, and I will find out the timing of all the details on Monday. This helps me stay calm and I can cross off the days from my calendar. It also makes me wonder how scared or calm I would feel if I were not so knowledgeable. Which begs me to wonder—when is knowledge too much knowledge?

Are there times I wish I did not know so much? Of course I do. I am sure all of us do at times. However, knowing myself, I would be more fearful because for me the unknown is always worse. I’m counting the facts known versus what my doctors and I do not know. Feeling this, I can therefore use this knowledge to my benefit, which is powerful and reassuring that nobody is hiding anything from me. So in the end I choose positivity that indeed “knowledge is power.”

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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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