Be an Advocate for Yourself

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When you’re initially faced with a cancer diagnosis, life can suddenly feel totally out of your control, which is really difficult to handle.

Out of nowhere, your life consists of tons of doctor appointments, second opinions, new medications, and quite often, you feel alone and don’t have any idea where to begin with any of it.

You’ll need to learn how to be an advocate for yourself, ensuring you can take back a little control in your life as you work through all of these new challenges. As a coach, I help clients with this all the time. Here are three things I often tell them as they begin training for self-advocacy:

Knowledge is Power

Learn about your disease from a trusted source. Know everything there is to know, so that you’re empowered to feel like the expert. This will help give you a sense of control when you you’re approached with questions and will help you better understand and navigate upcoming doctor visits and treatments.  

Take Notes

Grab a notebook and start jotting down notes at all doctor’s appointments. Keep this information readily accessible and add copies of pathology reports, doctors reports, biopsy reports, and more to your notebook so it’s all in one place.

Prepare for Your Appointments

As you go over your notes and reports, write out any questions that come to mind in your notebook. Take these questions with you to your next appointment, and be sure to go through all of them with you doctor. if possible, have someone accompany you to the appointment, as it can be really difficult to take notes and listen at the same time.

Wendy Van Besienblog post