Life is akin to a garden, one that needs to be tended even when it yields nothing. Through hard work and dedication we can reap the rewards of our labor and taste the juicy flavor of our investments. I have been researching, poking, asking questions and learning how to become my own health advocate.
I’ve finally begun to taste the fruit of my labor. This week my oncologist admitted that he was wrong for not ordering the tests I requested. He said that I was right and that he wanted to make sure that my needs and expectations were met. His apology meant a lot to me, it is a rare occasion to hear a doctor apologize and reveal his humanity.
I have learned a lot from this experience, much of it needs to be further analyzed but the primary points I have discovered is it involves three major components: Critical research, empathy and healthy personal boundaries.
♣Critically research everything. You need to understand as much as you possibly can about your disease. Compile the knowledge you need to duel your doctor. Learn the language of your disease, the words, tests, scans, and acronyms used must become common parlance in your new vernacular.
♣Empathy, you must have the ability to evaluate the decision making process of your doctor. If you would like to effectively communicate with them, it is absolutely necessary that you empathize with them.
♣You must have strong personal boundaries. I believe that there are two major categories of personal boundaries: Inner and Out. The Outer boundaries apply to any situation where someone is making you feel uncomfortable. Inner boundaries apply to how you might hurt yourself. Becoming your own health advocate requires that you set healthy Inner and Outer boundaries.
Being your own Health Advocate is about researching, asking the right questions and demanding the treatment that is best for you.
If you would like to read more about personal advocacy feel free to click this link