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How to Advocate for Yourself When it Matters Most

How to Advocate for Yourself When it Matters Most

Healthcare has always been of paramount importance.

Since the pandemic started, healthcare and wellness seem to occupy most people’s minds in a whole new way. In addition to living through a pandemic, I have personally dealt with a couple of major medical situations this year. This past June, I was lucky enough to give birth to my amazing son KJ via C-section. After successfully healing from that major surgery, I had my thyroid removed in October due to a thyroid nodule that could potentially be cancerous. Thankfully, after having my thyroid taken out, everything has been determined to be benign and I can now focus on healing my body from the recent surgery. 

After getting through all the surgeries while actively working to keep my family safe through the pandemic, I wanted to share my top 6 tips to help you learn how to advocate yourself when it matters most!

Tip #1: Ask Questions 

 

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Before I had my C-section, I went to the hospital to be induced for a natural delivery. After 2.5 days of being induced, it was determined that a C-section was best for me and the baby. Throughout the entire process, I was asking nurses questions every time I needed clarity, or I was confused about something. It didn’t matter if my questions were needed or even wanted. I knew I needed to advocate to ensure the health and safety of myself and my son. 

Tip #2: Keep Your Tribe Close By 

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I am so deeply grateful and blessed to have a tight network of folks that I can rely and share my personal thoughts and feelings with. These folks are there to say the right thing when I need to hear it the most. When you are going through a medical situation, having your tribe nearby to text or call is incredibly comforting and empowering. When you have to advocate for yourself, your tribe is there to remind you that you aren’t alone. Your tribe is there backing you up to ensure you are safe and healthy so you can be around for a long time. 

Tip #3: Pay Attention to Your Body  

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It’s important to pay attention to how you feel. When you have surgery, it is even more important to pay attention to how you are feeling. How is your breathing? Is anything hurting that shouldn’t be causing you pain? In the hospital, I was attended by nurses and healthcare workers that seemed invested in making sure I felt well. At any moment where I needed to provide an update on my health status, I didn’t hesitate at all. 

Tip #4: Be Clear on What You Want  

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You are in charge of your body and what your body needs. It’s unlikely that you will come in contact with mind readers in the healthcare system. Where does that leave you? You have to be crystal clear on what you want…when you want it! 

Tip #5: Save Key Contact Information  

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After my thyroid surgery, there was some mix-up amongst the staff members when it came to getting me discharged from the hospital. What did I do? I called the cell phone number of my surgeon to ask when I could get discharged. I didn’t waste more time asking other hospital workers who weren’t helping me get discharged. I took matters into my own hands to directly speak with someone who actually had the power to help me. Making sure you have all the key contact information before going into surgery is super helpful. You never know if you will need to get in contact with someone after your surgery. 

Tip #6: Gratitude is the Attitude of Choice   

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I am so grateful to be alive. I am deeply thankful and excited to wake up to live my life. No matter what’s going on or how tired you may feel, life is a gift that can be celebrated every day. If you are going through a serious situation, hold on to gratitude. There is always something to be grateful for now and in the future!