When I got sick in May of 2019 our world changed forever. I was incredibly blessed to have my husband by my side being my voice. There were days we could hardly get me in the car to get to the next appointment and the stories I have on how hospitals treated us are disgusting and unbelievable (but all too real)!
One of the things I learned in the process (and learned rather quickly) was that if I was going to have a chance at healing, I was going to have to be the boss of my own body! I have a small handful of doctors and wellness experts I love and respect but it came with trial and error and mistakes along the way. My hope for anyone reading this is that you find it at a time divinely right for you to be reading and can save some heartache, frustration, money, and time.
If you are in the middle of any health crisis, here are my tips for you to start advocating for your own health:
1. KEEP A RECORD
Believe me, I know you don’t want to do anything when you’re that sick, but write what you can or get someone else to write for you. When you get to appointments or rushed to a hospital you will be swept in chaos and confusion. In order to combat that and stay on top of your own health- in order to hold your own when you’re already so weak, keep a record! It doesn’t have to be fancy. Use the “Note” App in your phone or a journal and write the date. Below that, write the time as you experience that symptom. You may need to be keeping a food diary (I highly suggest this!) of what you are eating (even if it’s a slice of apple and half a glass of water all day) and write the details. You may not need them, but you might also be very surprised later to connect the dots and have something to jog your memory. You can’t bounce ideas off whoever you get care from without giving them information. They will appreciate this too and be able to give you a better quality of care. You will also be able to make sense of what doesn’t make sense and know when to speak up that something doesn’t seem right!
2. ASK QUESTIONS
On another page of that journal or in a new note, make a list of questions for your doctors. If you can get in to see a functional or holistic doctor and they are good at what they do, they will welcome the questions. IF YOUR DOCTOR GETS UPSET BECAUSE YOU ASK QUESTIONS, FIND A NEW DOCTOR. Please read that again and again. This is imporant! Somewhere in society we have forgotten that our own bodies are ours and we hire doctors and healthcare professionals. You are paying these people! Why wouldn’t you want to know what is happening to your own body? Why wouldn’t you ask and learn all you can?
3. DON’T ASSUME
Sometimes in the middle of illness, you have been going, going, going to doctor after doctor, having test after test, and everything becomes blurred and routine. Because of that, it’s easy to think the doctor you see knows everything about you and all of your history. The truth is, they have many other patients and their own busy lives full of their own problems. Do not assume they know you. I can’t tell you how many times I would re-iterate an allergy to a medicine or the time I was having surgery and fought multiple professionals on what I would not be taking beforehand. Sure enough, just before surgery the next morning, my incredible doctor informed them all that I was right, and in fact, the medications they were prescribing are listed on the CDC as possible interaction with my illness and also in the same family of a major allergy I have! Yikes! Unfortunately, this is VERY VERY common! Staying on top of what’s happening, asking questions, and remembering people make mistakes will be crucial for your own health.
4. HOPE IN HEALING
The last thing I want to leave y’all with is hope. There truly is HOPE in your HEALING! I will never ever forget the people put in my path that kept me going and gave me hope. There was a nurse practitioner at one of the oncologist offices who became my advocate and put a lot on the line to get me immediately to a hospital. I don’t know how much longer I could have gone. Then, there was the other first oncology office (notice I had TWO because we got a second opinion after a doctor who said he knew I was sick but wasn’t really sure why) where it was a front office receptionist who would hand me a book that fueled my heart, brought me such peace and comfort, and anchored us through the storm of that nightmare. I have since gotten the same book for others and hand written similar notes like she did for me. Why?
BECAUSE THERE IS HOPE. It maybe not feel like it right now. It may take everything in you to even listen to a hope-filled song or do the tiniest thing to bring you joy. Do it anyway. Smile. Laugh. Cry out to the Lord who holds you and gave you life. When that fear and doubt creeps in because your body feels too far gone, please friend, know that God IS beside you.
I’m rooting for you! BE YOUR OWN health advocate and have hope in your healing adventure.
Copyright 2020 danielleharrell.com