Advocating for Yourself
It all starts with a warning sign... you either are shedding massive amounts of hair, see the first bald spot or just know intuitively that something isn't right.
You go to one doctor and maybe 5 others, and perhaps they aren't giving you the solutions you want or perhaps they are just dismissing your symptoms altogether.
In both scenarios the doctor appointments are useless and begin to make you feel like you are at a loss, or that it's all in your head or that you are wrong and nothing can be done.
I too have been dismissed in regards to my alopecia but also in other medical situations that had nothing to do with alopecia. I have had doctors belittle me saying that Dr. Google isn't always right (they assumed I went there looking for info), or that the latest and greatest studies like epigenetics aren't something they subscribe to. Really? That's like telling me that GMO's healthy.
Well, let me tell you, that just because someone wears a white coat and has initials after their names DOES NOT MEAN THEY KNOW EVERYTHING. And it also doesn't mean that THEY are the appropriate ones to help you in your cause. Their lack of foresight, keeping up with knowledge or being open minded to other possibilities also limits them in helping you. You can only go so far as their toolbox allows.
No one is going to care more about YOU and YOUR wellbeing and YOUR goals than YOU. Unless its someone who's actually been in your shoes, like me with Alopecia, who now helps others. Its people who've turned their pain into their cause who tend to have more insight, more fervor and obsession towards the subject than a generalist of sorts. They become the specialists you seek!
When I had my miscarriage, all the doctors were AGAIN, very useless and rendered this situation as Normal. The guidance in general when you are pregnant is all over the board and again, their are tons of misinformation online. Where to go? How to prevent and how to ensure this never happens again?
After seeing a handful of MD's I decided to speak to women who help other women with fertility. These women had gone through numerous miscarriages and guess what? They had more options and more insight in how to prevent it from happening again than the fertility doctor and medical specialists I saw. Did you know there is even an autoimmune disease that causes miscarriages! Yes there is, and also I wasn't keen on believing that it was my age or my egg quality or that this was normal. Just like with alopecia, I was determined to get more insights and resolve my burning questions.
In one coaching call with this lady in Australia I was able to get direction, understanding and check off what I was doing and not doing to help my cause... this call was absolutely priceless. And because she is not an MD she is able to speak freely not just from experience but also from her clients' experience and what they have learned over the years of research, trial and error. Not to get sidetracked, but I see many parallels with miscarriages and alopecia. They both affect women more than men, we often times are left with no real answers as to why. Both can be adjusted, improved and healed with diet and lifestyle and much more than that... once you see examples of others, the inspiration within and gumption within allows you to believe you can do it too- am I right?
I love this approach because it actually seems more tangible and proactive instead of waiting for the next medical journal to come out with some sort of hypothesis. When you want results, you need to go hunt for them, they are out there... but waiting around gets you no where and keeps you in pain along with uncertainty. No one wants to be there! Bypassing your local doctor's is sometimes the better option. I would however stay clear, and not even try forums or groups.. this can be the most misleading and ignorant areas for "support and guidance." On the other hand, I have found some groups to be of great insight and info, but instead of holding your breath in one of those groups, why not just hunt for the right practitioner or person to help you-- someone who's achieved the results you want! (THAT IS KEY)
When you want results, think outside the box. (point #1)
So where does advocating for yourself fit into this?
It fits, because you are advocating for what you want. If numerous doctors aren't able to help because they lack up to date knowledge, empathy and actual successful results, then go to someone else who can help. The lady in Australia was 44 when she had her first kid, naturally- no IVF.... and this was after several miscarriages... this is what I am talking about.. the pain of going through something, forces you to discover and uncover the unanswered questions. Boom!
(Point 2) Advocating for yourself also means standing up for yourself and not letting anyone, and I mean ANYONE, belittle you. You are the client and the patient and you have rights. You also, clearly, have done your research and want to ask, what if this or what if that... bringing more information to the attention of the practitioner or doctor shouldn't make them feel less than, rather they should be curious to see if in fact, your suggestion is a possibility. Team work is key.. Doctors are not higher power beings.. they are people and people you have turned to, for help, just like a plumber or an electrician - they are there to help with guidance and their knowledge. If they cannot help, move on and do so immediately.
(Point 3) Don't let their laziness be an excuse for not obtaining results. The other day my husband had to go in for an X-ray and received one at one hospital. He then, for some reason I still don't understand, had to go see the specialist in another hospital. Since that second facility didn't receive the X-ray, perhaps because they were lazy to call and request- who knows... they were encouraging him to do it again. To retake the X-ray.
He was adamant about not retaking it, not because of the cost, but rather because no one needs extra radiation to the body. The less radiation we can garner, the better overall your body and health will be. The doctor was getting frustrated but he and his team, had not done their due diligence so they wanted to put it back on the patient, which is the client! WRONG- this is not "best practice."
This didn't pan out like the doctor wanted. My husband advocated for himself, stood his ground and requested that they request the X-rays and follow up with him accordingly.
Standing up for yourself, advocating for yourself go hand in hand. I have seen this, experienced this personally and do not condone allowing others, presumably in higher power, to dismiss, neglect or fall short of their services... this behavior is unacceptable. Granted, not all physicians are like this. Not all doctors are dismissive, but when you find someone you turn to for help, for solutions, for answers and don't get what you are looking for-- KEEP LOOKING. There are people out there who can and will help you and will also provide answers.
Many times they don't wear the lab coats but they do have the scars of the struggle, they know more about the issue at hand than any text book and have the knowledge, encouragement and empathy to help others overcome the obstacle just the same.
Side note and thought: Just because you read and learned all about swimming but have never done it in the water, does not make you an expert. Getting in the water is a requirement. Get my drift?
I keep an open mind and embrace and collect the knowledge and know how from everyone in terms of ideas and how to best resolve the issue I am facing. I've switched my stance from going to a doctor, to seeking out someone who's been there and done that as I think this is actually more reliable, more poignant and gets me closer to my results in less time!!!
If you do the same, you won't pigeon hole yourself into one way of doing things.. which can set you back further, take more time, take more money and more energy... it can also harm you and not provide the results you are looking for. Sound familiar?
At the end of the day, we want RESULTS right? The solution to our problem... Getting to the solution is the goal, the HOW we get there is sometimes irrelevant- leave it open and explore all options. Many times the same way you thought would always work is now working against you and perhaps holding you back from getting what you want, desire and deserve.