Why We Don’t Want to Be Our Own Patient Advocates

In Breast Cancer, Dealing with Medical Industry Issues by Barbara Jacoby

Let’s be honest about it. If you asked others if they want to become involved in their own medical health and treatment, the answer would be a flat out “NO”. Then would come all of the reasons why. Most people would probably respond that they have no medical background so they prefer to leave it to the professionals. They would probably feel that it was irresponsible to even consider becoming involved in such a thing and that such an idea sounds absolutely ridiculous. But, if we dig a little deeper, we might just find that a lack of education in medicine has nothing to do with it. We don’t want to become involved because we are fearful that if we do and something goes wrong, it might be our own fault and we would have no one else to blame. We may think that we are not smart enough to take on such a role or we may say that we don’t have enough time to devote to doing the necessary work. But, it is my belief that there is something completely different that governs our lack of desire to become involved in our own medical care.

“In the long run, it is completely up to the individual. There will always be a reason for everything we choose to do or not do in life.”Barbara Jacoby

Think about it for a minute. Do you remember how you felt the last time you were sick? Do you remember what you desired more than anything else? You wanted someone else to tell you what you needed to do in order to get better. You wanted someone to get you what you needed. You wanted to be left alone to sleep or relax or do whatever you needed in order to feel comfortable while you were recovering. You wanted someone to take care of you and you wanted someone to empathize with you and to let you know that they were there for you no matter what.

This is perfectly natural. We want to be cared for just like our mothers cared for us when we were hurt or sick as children. We want our doctors to reassure us that everything will be OK and to leave their office with a lollipop. We don’t want to have to be responsible for doing our own thinking and planning and decision-making. We want someone else to do those things for us. We believe that no one else knows as much as we do about our own businesses or types of work so we can’t begin to think that investigating other options to our medical treatment and working on a plan of treatment with our doctors could even be a viable option

In the long run, it is completely up to the individual. There will always be a reason for everything we choose to do or not do in life. It all depends upon the individual and choices. But, perhaps if we explore other options and discuss them with our doctors, we may find that there is something that our doctor didn’t know and is willing to consider. Or, we may be comforted after the discussion that our doctor has indeed considered all options and are assured that we are being treated in the best way possible for us on an individual basis. Bottom line is that the choice is always ours.