Working With Your Healthcare Providers: Advocate for Yourself
When you have a condition like type 2 diabetes, you probably trust your doctor's and healthcare team's expertise. But sometimes you may get information contrary to what you believe. Advocating for yourself is essential when your doctor's treatment plan or decisions for your health make you uncertain or uncomfortable.
What does self-advocacy mean?
I don't mean that you should ignore your doctor's advice. Not at all. What I mean is there are some cases where you may want to make a change or get a second opinion from another provider.
My experience changing doctors
I recently shared an experience about changing doctors. I was prescribed medicine that caused severe nausea until my body adjusted. I'm not talking about just feeling sick; I'm talking about nausea so severe that I went to urgent care.
When I called my doctor for anti-nausea pills, I was ignored and basically told to deal with the new medicine's side effects. At that point, I knew I needed a change. It took me about a day to change doctors.
Be your own diabetes advocate
I read about a type 2 diabetes patient who was transferred to a new care manager. Their current diabetes treatment plan was working great for them. But this new care management team decided to suddenly switch their medications.
This person also changed doctors. They were belittled by the care manager because of their diabetes and made to feel like the worst-case scenario would happen due to the medication they were previously taking, which was working just fine.
Finding a great doctor can take time
It happens. Sometimes you get the wrong doctor, but advocating for yourself is important. In my case, I don't want a doctor who acts lackadaisical about any condition I have - which my previous doctor did. I also don't want a doctor who tells me basically to suck it up when it was just as easy for them to call in medicine that would make me feel better.
Characteristics of a good doctor
Some people are lucky enough to find that ideal doctor who cares about their health, listens to their concerns, and takes the time to discuss their treatment. I've been fortunate enough to experience that with my new doctor.
But I had to advocate for myself and find someone else who cared about my health and questions and was compassionate towards me. I may be old-school, but I value a kind, caring doctor who listens. That shouldn't be too much to ask.
Type 2 diabetes is complicated
Dealing with type 2 diabetes can be complicated. There are many types of medicines and treatment options. There are many possibilities, from insulin injections and pills to semaglutide injections.
Then there's monitoring your blood sugar levels, A1C, and weight. Type 2 diabetes management also relates to lifestyle factors like exercise and diet. It can get overwhelming, and it's even worse if you have other health conditions to deal with simultaneously.
A supportive healthcare team makes a difference
But having a healthcare team that seems to have your best interest in mind takes some of the worries away and allows you to get the best care possible and be in the best health you can be with your type 2 diabetes. Be an advocate for yourself, and make sure your doctor has your best interest in mind.
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