From a very young age, athlete Catriona Le May Doan has pushed herself to the limit to achieve the highest honour in international sport – an Olympic gold medal. Once known as the fastest female speed skater in the world, Catriona has had to make a lot of tough choices to accomplish her goals, both on and off the ice.
Recently she’s been dealing with chronic pain and arthritis from decades of high-level competition. She says this new challenge has presented her with unfamiliar choices about pain management and proper medication. “It’s an intimidating process,” the Olympic skater explains. “Our health should always be our top priority, but often we trust other people to manage it for us. We have to stay in control of these important decisions to achieve the best outcomes.”
Catriona faced her challenge head-on and found the right treatment that allowed her to continue living a healthy and active life with her family, friends, and aspiring Olympians. Now, she says she is on a mission to empower other Canadians to take control of their health, so they can live any lifestyle they choose.
The former champion says finding a treatment plan that works for a patient is similar to an athlete choosing the right training program. “Athletes don’t just start training for competition without a plan. It’s a carefully crafted process that’s tailor-made to the individual. The same principles apply to managing your health.”
She says choosing the right plan includes three basic steps:
1. Research your options
“When it comes to your health, you have to know all the available options. Don’t take someone else’s word for it. Take time to learn about all the possible choices and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, there are no stupid questions when it comes to your health.”
2. Decide what works best for you
“One of the most important aspects of choosing a treatment plan is comfort. You have to be comfortable with your medication. Just because a treatment option works for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Everyone has unique needs and a treatment plan should be tailored to those needs.”
3. Stick to your routine
“Consistency is a major key to success. When you find something that works, you have to stick with it to achieve the best outcomes. As the old saying goes – don’t mess with success.”
As of this spring, Catriona says she is partnering with innoviCares to underscore the importance of options when it comes to managing our health. InnoviCares is a free card that helps patients save money on select brand-name prescription medications at their local pharmacy. The skater says the card is now used by more than 1.5 million Canadians and includes an expanding list of more than 100 brands. Catriona’s full story is now featured at innovicares.ca.