Monday, January 25, 2010

CCa #4: Who knows better than you

Sometimes the best advocate you could possibly have is the one who empowers you to be an advocate for yourself.  I have been extremely blessed with a mother who is the best advocate in the world, and completely fearless. We all have to learn to be our own advocates though, and the best way to do that is to stay true to yourself. 
Think about this: Every day we are faced with decisions to be made; some small and seemingly inconsequential and some are large and life altering.
Do we have our doctors, our nurses, our families, our teachers, our counselors and our friends be the ones who make decisions and be responsible for what happens to us?  Or, do we listen, learn and stay in tune with ourselves and our needs and make those decisions for ourselves? 
True story time:
My doctors wanted me to have a BIG surgery.  They talked to my mom.  They talked to me about it every clinic visit for months.  They also brought it up during hospital visits.  Apparently, this was one of those huge-life-altering-don’t-make-the-wrong-decision situations. 
My advocate is my mom.  She advised me to take a look at my options and educate myself on the procedure and then, after having all the data I needed I could then make an informed decision.  So I did.  And then I told my docs that I was declining the surgery because after looking at the data I didn’t see how it would improve my condition and it was way more risky than just living with what I had.  I could tell they felt strongly about it, but they respected my decision and told me so.
That was five years ago.  A few months ago during a hospital stay one of my docs came in to see me on rounds.  He told me that I had made the right decision not to have the surgery; that if I had gone through with it I may not be here today.
I believe that you have to stay true to what you believe, what you feel, and what you think is right. Having personal integrity has been one of the only ways I have been able to remain in control of this unpredictable situation of having a chronic illness.  I think it’s a good way to go.

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