Posted in Health

You Need to be Your Own Advocate


Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a harrowing week of being at the hospital with my son who developed appendicitis over the weekend. My poor little guy was in so much pain. Sob. When we figured out he might have appendicitis, we immediately got him into the doctor who then made arrangements for him to go to the emergency room.

Photo credit: AJC1 via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

We got our son into the hospital and we hoped he’d have surgery that night. Nope. He wasn’t considered an emergency case because his appendix hadn’t burst. According to the ultrasound, it was just inflamed. So they gave him pain medication and anti-nausea medication for the night. He was scheduled for surgery the next morning, but he was pushed back to noon because an emergency case had come in. When he finally went into surgery it was one thirty, and guess what, during our wait his appendix burst. The surgery took longer than expected and so has his recovery. We were in the hospital two days longer than we had planned.


Photo via

The reason I’m telling you this is because you must be your own advocate when you seek medical attention. I wish we hadn’t blindly followed the doctor’s advice and allowed him to push our son’s surgery back. I wish we had said we feel this is a real emergency and we want this taken care of now.

Another example I’d like to share with you is when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgeon who performed my mastectomy originally recommended a lumpectomy because they had only found one spot.

Photo credit: KOMUnews via / CC BY

I told him I wanted an MRI done to make sure there weren’t any other cancerous spots. I wanted this to be a one and done kind of thing. I didn’t want to have to go through anything like this again.  His response was, “We don’t do MRI’s on people your age.”

I told him I didn’t care. I wanted to make sure there weren’t any other spots and he needed to order an MRI. He did and there were five other cancerous spots. Now if I had just listened to him, I’d be going back for more surgery and the cancer would’ve most likely spread through my body. My life would’ve been cut dramatically short.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything the medical community has done for me. After all, they’ve extended my life and I get to see my kids grow up. But they’re not always right and some doctors have a tendency to cut corners whether it’s at the behest of insurance companies or for other reasons I’m not sure. So the moral of this story is: You need to be your own advocate for your health. Ask questions and push the issue when you need medical attention. Get second and third opinions. It could literally save your life.


Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any medical experiences you’d like to share? Please do. I love to hear from you!


I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.

32 thoughts on “You Need to be Your Own Advocate

  1. Early in my 12 step recovery, I had to have ear surgery. I vaguely remember having a meltdown in the recovery room when the doc tried to prescribe Lortab for post-op pain management. Apparently, it was a doozy, because he gave me demerol. Demerol wound up being a good choice, because it took away enough of the pain that I could function, but didn’t make me feel high like so many pain meds would have. The moment I felt high after taking the medicine, I knew it was time to stop taking them.

    Now, if only I could figure out how to get the same result when I’m telling them not to start any IV in my hands. It never fails… if there’s an IV in my hand, my veins WILL roll and the needle will infiltrate (slip out) and my hand will swell with fluid that didn’t go into a vein. I always always always wake up from surgery with an IV in my hand even though it wasn’t there when they put me under. Jerks

    1. Yeah. I hear you. Some of these doctors are quite full of themselves and they don’t always listen to their patients. I’ve experienced this attitude more times than I can count. Sorry to hear about your swollen hands that would piss me off, too. I’m glad you had a meltdown and told that doctor not to prescribe you Lortab, it was effective because he changed his orders. Sometimes a meltdown is the only thing that will catch their attention. You did good. Way to take care of you.

  2. Yikes! What a scary situation, Lisa! I’m glad to hear your son is doing okay now, and I completely agree with the advocating for yourself with medical professionals – even the best doctor can have an off day, or make a bad decision. I hope your son continues to heal well.

    1. I know. I’m so thankful I demanded that MRI. Who knows where I’d be if I hadn’t. And yes, my poor baby, but he is home and feeling better. I’m hoping he’ll be able to go back to school early next week. 🙂

  3. So, so very true! Being your own advocate is so important. After all, we know our bodies the best, and hopefully care about them the most. I’m so glad your son is on the mend! We have had the same situation with Celiac disease in our family. It took me three years to get my diagnosis, but when my son started having symptoms, I pushed. Pushed for the right tests and then received a diagnosis much quicker than when I was sick – thank goodness.

  4. Honestly, Lisa, your health care provider should ALWAYS be in your corner! It’s enough your have to be your son’s advocate. My hubby had his appendix removed (it burst) when he was in his late teens – said it was the worst pain ever. Wishing you and your son great health! Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Sharon! You are so right. My son’s surgeon said, “You have a tough kid, there.” And he’s so right. We learned something really important in this event. My oldest has a high pain tolerance so we’re going to have to be very cognizant of that in the future. I had appendicitis about 5 years ago and I’ll tell you, even though mine didn’t burst it was extremely painful and it was a heck of a lot more painful than a cramp. Oy! My poor little boy. Thanks for stopping by, Sharon! I appreciate your kind words. 🙂

  5. I tell that to people all the time. Also that if you might or even might not be getting bad news to take someone in with you to take notes and listen as you might not hear anything after “you have….” it doesn’t have to be a family member, a level headed friend works. This gives you someone to bounce ideas off of or even ask did I hear this or that right.Much needed post. thank you

    1. Yes. I like your idea of taking someone with you. They can ask questions you’re too stunned to ask and like you said, take notes. Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your support. 🙂

  6. Such a week you have had Lisa!Glad it ended well…doctors!You are so right about standing up for yourself…its hard when you are dealing with being ill as well but it has to be done. Well done you.

  7. Wow, great that you “put your foot down” Lisa. I don’t have any similar stories myself, but am certainly aware that medics are not the “infallible” people we can easily assume they are.

    1. I’m glad to hear you don’t have similar stories. That’s a blessing for sure. You are so right that doctors are not infallible even if they think they are 😉

  8. I can’t even tell you how many hospital/doctor experiences I’ve had. But if there one thing I know, then that’s stick with your gut and stand up for yourself. Yes Doctors are trained and mostly know best. But you know yourself and your loved ones!

  9. Just before I saw this posted on FB, I was talking with a mutual acquaintance about listening to your own body and your intuition, especially when it comes to your health.
    First of all, I cannot believe that any doctor would wait for anyone’s appendix to burst! I had an uncle die of a ruptured appendix and my brother was barely saved when his ruptured when he was 15. I am absolutely appalled.
    Secondly, thank God you stuck up for yourself and that we have you here!
    I went through a lot before they realized I had autoimmune disease. A good doctor of mine suspected it but the tests and criteria were non-specific way back then.I also had other symptoms later on, plus a rare condition for a short time; little did I know that it meant that I had yet another autoimmune problem.One doctor recognized it and said that it COULD be indicative of another syndrome, but it was ‘unlikely’; I should have asked more questions then. Years later it showed on IVPs because they did not believe that I had kidney stones because I “didn’t act like it”; I didn’t scream and cry, just told them I had really bad pain and threw up a lot. I can’t take narcotics so I just manage as best as I can.
    I have a bad spine and last summer, I jumped out of bed when my granddaughter had a bad dream and something hurt horribly. “Your x-rays haven’t changed. your mri hasn’t changed, you SHOULD be having pain with what we see,” It wasn’t the same thing at all.Finally, I was put on heavy steroids by my GP’s office and some swelling must have gone down. I was fie until some jerk rear-ended my TWICE last March. I have been in terrible pain but we are fighting the “Your x-rays haven’t changed, your mri hasn’t changed AGAIN.
    My husband has felt a shortness of breath for the last 9 months. Test after test revealed nothing.We got to a great specialist through another great specialist who would not give up on finding the cause, which he just did the other day. Bad news: they found something/Good news:they found something and it is not just not terrible, it is highly treatable. But it could have gone really bad if this doctor had not cared and listened to him.
    Thank God both you and your son are OK.

  10. Wow, I’m glad you were there for your son! Yes, we must take control and seek out the quality medical care deserved for our loved ones and ourselves. Excellent to hear you doing so!

  11. I agree – you have to tell them what you want doing otherwise things don’t get done. I had to ask for a sit down/stand up x-ray and explain what it was. My doctor was very open to my suggestions thankfully.

    1. That’s great your doctor was open to your suggestions. You really do need to speak up or they’ll just do their regular procedures. I find that many of them are so busy, they just want to get through their appointments. I think many doctors are overwhelmed not necessarily bad doctors. With that being said, I do believe my surgeon who told me that we don’t do MRIs on people your age is doing a great disservice to many of his patients. I’m glad you didn’t have a similar experience!

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