Be your own Advocate!

Why you should always ask for a second opinion!

Recently, my family and friends have been hit really hard with Cancer. It’s been so frequent that several members have become friends over it and helped each other get through the complex healthcare system that we currently live. As someone who works in healthcare everyday, I see the frustration for all sides when it comes to getting the right treatments and the right coverage for a patient and their family.

I have noticed one major issue that people don’t talk about. The fear of getting a second opinion.

Not all healthcare providers, Institutions, pharmacies and doctors are created equal. Education, experiences, financial backing can all determine how a doctor will treat you when they come into an office, and that doesn’t include- bed side manner, how aggressively they treat or don’t and if their staff is well versed in what you are going through. All of these things can either make a horrible situation better or far worse. So that’s why I am always confused when I can tell someone does not like who they were referred to but are afraid of insulting their family practice doctor, the current doctor or just being labeled as someone who is difficult. I am here to ask you to stop falling into that trap and seek a second opinion.

You would get multiple quotes on pretty much anything you buy right? A car, insurance, house Etc etc would be bought based on quality, price and you definitely wouldn’t buy from someone who didn’t make you feel secure in your purchase. So why do we just “buy” what the first doctor is telling us?

I suggest the following to anyone who is going through what my family and friends are going through:

1. Do your research on physicians before you go to the appointment and have questions written down.

2. Take someone with you if you can. I know with covid things have changed, but you can also have someone conference in and listen if you can’t have another person with you.

3. Ask friends and family if anyone has gone through the illness/disease/cancer and if they could recommend someone they really liked.

4. If you don’t like your doctor, they won’t give you the mental energy to get through this as easy as it could be. Find an awesome doctor who has a personality, and a way of communicating that makes you feel better about your situation.

5. Research your disease, join a support group and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If possible visit a therapist! These visits are always good during a life changing time.

6. Be your own advocate. Stand up for what doesn’t sound right, ask questions and make calls back to the office if you don’t feel clear on the answers you have been given.

These are just my experiences and things that I see day in and day out. I know that watching my mom get a doctor that she felt was an advocate, who listened to her, was a huge relief and a big part of her attitude towards beating cancer.

Have a great week and remember – Dont feel bad about asking for a second opinion!

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