If you’re just learning to live with a feeding tube, it can take some adjusting and may have an impact on your state-of-mind. It’s important to remember that there are resources and support available to guide you through this transition. Here are some strategies to help with adapting and living your life to its fullest with a feeding tube.
Realize you’re not alone
As you begin to adjust to life with a feeding tube and the schedule and activity restrictions it may bring, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Utilize resources such as The Oley Foundation and Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation to reach out to others, read about similar experiences and troubleshoot problems.
Let yourself heal
If you’re just beginning your feeding tube journey, you may still be healing or stabilizing your health. Physical pain and discomfort can interfere with your mood. It’s important that you focus on your physical healing to create a foundation for your emotional well-being.
Learning to rely on others can be a challenge, but if you’re struggling with body image, mood fluctuations, or feelings of emotional discomfort or anxiety, don’t be afraid to consult with an appropriate professional, whether that’s a psychologist or another member of your care team.
The more you learn about your diagnosis and the particulars of your specific feeding methods and processes, the more empowered you can become. This also enables you to make more informed decisions for your own care along with your physician and care team.
Ask your care team to help you simplify your regimen as much as possible to reduce frustration, whether this means changes to your feeding schedule or purchasing a light weight pump for easy portability.
Practice your skills
As with any new process, you’re going to hit snags and frustrations, but the more you do it, the better you get. The more you know, the more you can participate in and master the skills you need to live your best life with a feeding tube.
Aim for independence
Caretakers often get so good at helping they forget to let you do whatever you can for yourself. As you communicate with your care team, try to allow for independence to be achieved by working to take on tasks or parts of the process to allow for self-care.
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