© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and CURE - Oncology & Cancer News for Patients & Caregivers. All rights reserved.
After being diagnosed with mesothelioma, I learned to advocate for myself, and realized that it was an incredibly important life skill to have.
If someone asked me today what was one thing that I learned during my battle with cancer, I would say that it taught me to advocate for myself.
I know some people have the impression that you must have a certain type of attitude to advocate. You may think of someone who is not afraid to speak up and speak loud, knows their stuff, and won’t take no for ananswer. But that’s so far from the truth.
When I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma 15 years ago, I knew nothing about this type of cancer, nor did I know what advocacy really meant. When you’re in a situation where you feel as if you’re going through it blindly, you have two choices: you can stop and give up or keep going until you’ve reached your breakthrough.
I chose to keep moving.
At the beginning of my diagnosis, I was referred to an oncologist who knew nothing about mesothelioma; he lacked confidence in the situation and couldn't answer the questions I asked him. I dreaded going to see him because he offered me no hope and had no treatment plan in mind.
After a couple of appointments with him, I got frustrated and thought to myself, “This can't be it. There must be a specialist out there who can help me and give me some clarification.”
My entire family was involved with looking for the right mesothelioma specialist and we found one right in my backyard. He was just at another hospital. See what happens when you don't give up? You find what you're looking for.
Here are tips that will helped me achieve self advocacy:
I was young when I was diagnosed with cancer and wasn't sure how to navigate the healthcare system. But as I look back, having cancer is what taught me that if I don't advocate for myself then who will?
Advocacy is a must-have life skill that I use for myself and have taught my husband and children. You are your best advocate!
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.