4 tips for your next doctor visit – a ❤️ to ❤️

Let’s talk about something that’s really near and dear to my heart – self-advocacy.  Anytime you or I go to a healthcare provider to talk about food sensitivities or anxiety or depression or any other concern, self-advocacy is important.

The culture of medicine is interesting. It has a long history of being very paternal. Where the provider knows better than you, especially for a woman seeking care. You are expected to accept and do what the provider says.  

And more than likely at some point along the line, when you've gone to see a physician, or any healthcare provider for that matter, you've gotten that feel from the provider: you walk in, sit down, and wait 20 minutes. They come in, and with very little discussion, tell you what's wrong with you, tell you what to do, and then they're gone. 

I really hope that you have experienced more of the “good” side of medicine which is more about listening to your story, asking questions, seeking to understand your goals and values, etc.  Because that is the magic of healthcare, in my opinion.

Since a lot of providers don’t want to discuss, listen or consider the potential of food sensitivities (along with a lot of other symptoms with which women struggle), I want to give you four tips for how to advocate for your body and your health…and take some of the stress out of doctor visits.

My four tips for your next doctor visit:

  1. When starting with a new provider, or one you haven’t seen in a while, consider that first visit an interview.  It's your opportunity to learn about how they approach making decisions and recommendations. Are they going to listen to your story and be curious about your experience?  If not, do you need/want a different provider?It's also your opportunity to set your expectations and boundaries.  That means most of us need to do a little bit of work before we get ready to drive to the doctor's office, because who's ever really thought about our expectations for the doctor other than fixing a problem.
  1. Consider what you want in a healthcare provider.  Specifically, do you want a partner or a boss?  Increasingly, the women I see in clinic are looking for someone to help them walk the journey and figure out what's going on, not necessarily “fix” them. That said, if there's a quick fix then let’s get it done!  But most of what we are trying to unravel with food sensitivities and food allergies is not a quick fix.  I really encourage you to start thinking about your healthcare provider as a partner or tour guide – someone who knows the path you’re on and can warn you of the danger spots and show you the hidden shortcuts.
  1. Speak up!  If somebody – physician or coach – suggests a treatment plan and you already know you won’t do it for a reason important to you, say something!  By saying you can’t or won’t, you're giving that provider an opportunity to give you alternatives. A good provider will have more than one treatment option for a situation because not everybody can tolerate the same thing.  But you have to speak up and be honest about what's going on in your head and your heart.
  2. Know what you will and will not compromise.  Any relationship, whether it's you and a loved one or you and your physician, has some element of compromise in it. When they have listened to your story and make a recommendation for a treatment or therapy, they also should provide the pros and cons/risks and benefits.  (That’s known as informed consent.)  The options may not always be exactly what you want.  But you have to decide if, to get where you ultimately want to go in your health journey, you will do a little bit of compromise in the here and now.

And most importantly, remember You make the decisions.  Your provider doesn't make the decisions - your provider gives you recommendations. (Unless you’re in an emergency situation, then they do what they can to save a life.  But that’s another discussion!)  

That is self-advocacy.  Believing you are as important and valuable as the person across the desk from you and holding true to your values and goals.  Speaking up for the choices which are important to you and will serve your body and health the best.  Owning your health and engaging in the discussion.  

Because you are important.  

Questions or comments?  Post them here or email me directly at melissa@melissaoverman.com.  Would love to hear how this ❤️ to ❤️ impacted you today!


Tags

boundaries, compromise, food sensitivities, self-advocate, your doctor


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