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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Facing a New Diagnosis? Be Your Own Best Advocate

Being on the receiving end of a life-threatening medical diagnosis can be scary, perhaps even terrifying. One minute, life’s going along as planned, and in an instant, it feels like your future’s spinning out of control. Stop, take a breath and dig down deep to find your inner strength. Take control of what you can, let go of the rest, and make a plan.

        Consider getting a second opinion. If the first and second opinions disagree, get a third. Once your diagnosis is confirmed, it’s time to educate yourself. Much health anxiety stems from fear of the unknown. Learn everything you can about your condition, prognosis and treatment options. Start a personal health record of all your research, medications, doctors’ visits and tests.

         Next, enlist a close friend or family member to be your ‘health buddy’. They should go with you to all your doctors’ appointments, tests and treatments. He or she is a second pair of eyes and ears and they can take notes for you and help you process information. Consider hiring a professional Patient Advocate if you don’t have anyone else to ask. At appointments, ask questions and make sure you understand; write down the answers. When talking to healthcare professionals, having a health buddy or Patient Advocate to provide moral support can be very helpful.

For more information on how to empower yourself when navigating the healthcare system, contact Cathy Abreu at 908-528-3977 or [email protected].