A national 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity that provides direct services to patients with chronic, life threatening and debilitating diseases to help access care and treatment recommended by their doctor.
When it comes to your health, you are the primary authority on your body and future care. If you don’t feel quite right and have yet to be diagnosed, explore your options through self-advocacy. By becoming a self-advocate, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your healthcare options.
Your first move is to begin keeping a record of your symptoms. This may help establish a pattern and is a great frame of reference when you begin researching your situation. Keep track of dates and symptoms for easy reference.
Research, research, research. Learn everything you can about your symptoms, needs, strengths and any potential road blocks you may encounter. This will help you better understand what the future might hold for you and possible next steps. Additional research also goes a long way when communicating with your doctor. During your research, write down three of your biggest concerns so you don’t get distracted or forget to ask your doctor about these points during your appointment.
Communicate your position to your doctor as clearly and politely as possible. Keep in mind that much of your communication relies on non-verbal cues. Share your point of view and listen to what the doctor tells you. If they say something you don’t understand, ask questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up; the more you voice your opinion, the less intimidating self-advocacy can be. And don’t forget to take notes!
If you feel like your doctor is not listening or may not be on the right track, it’s ok to ask for a second opinion. The bottom line is you know your body best. If you suspect something may not be right, research it, take notes and address your concerns in a thorough, respectful manner. By proactively being your own self-advocate, you’ll open new doors and help break down healthcare barriers so you can continue your journey to wellness.