While a college athlete, it was discovered I have an abnormally high heart rate which is induced by exercise. Our coach randomly put hr monitors on us to see how hard we were working. If it hadn't been for that particular preseason practice, this condition would have gone unnoticed, leading to potential consequences.
Ten years ago at the ripe age of 28 I found myself baffled as the doctor suggested a colonoscopy. This is usually an exam that shouldn't be had for another 22 years according to healthcare standards. But I followed the advice of my doctor and good thing I did. It was a small price to pay in order for me to enjoy the rest of my life. I was told that had I not come in, I would have had full blown colon cancer before the age of 40.
I am forever grateful to the healthcare teams that took these two incidences seriously, rather than dismissing them. They understood my concern and listened to me. Together, we had constructive conversation and created action plans.
With the direction of healthcare, insurance policies, and over scheduled doctors, now is the time more than ever to be your best advocate.
With a strong family history of breast cancer and my incident from ten years ago, I met with a genetic specialist. After talking with several family members, it has now gotten the ball rolling for many others to start thinking about their own health.
The ABC's of being your own advocate-
- Ask questions. If you don't understand what the doctor is saying, speak up.
- Be prepared. Go in with a list of items you would like to discuss, with the most important at the top of the list.
- Communicate concerns and desires. What are the potential barriers such as out of pocket expenses or searching for a second opinion.
Too many patients are passive when it comes to their medical care. It's important to have a trusting relationship between you and your team. I encourage you to play an active role in your healthcare decisions.
If you have questions on how to play a more active role, then