Melissa discusses with Michelle King Robson how women should advocate for themselves when they learn they have a medical condition.
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Michelle: What three things would you say that women should do when they are diagnosed with something and how should they advocate for themselves? What are the three things that they can do to advocate for themselves? Melissa: I would say number one, this is something that my mentor told me, was that make sure that you had your affairs in order, in case something were to happen. Just because it’s not something that is a pleasant thing to talk about, it’s not something that, you know, we want to address but if a time does come where you are very, very ill and you want to make sure you have in writing what your wishes are and where you want things to go and if you want to be buried or cremated and those sorts of things. And it’s a sticky topic but it’s also important because you don’t want have, leave that burden on loved ones. So I think that’s really important. And that was something that I did right off the bat, was make sure that I had a power of attorney, made sure that I had a lawyer that was able to put everything that I wanted in writing. As far as—let’s see, another thing would be have a caregiver if you, make sure you have somebody by your side that can be your support, I guess, and speak for you in case you are unable to speak. I have been very blessed to have family and friends by my side almost all of the time and I realized that’s, in reality that’s not, most people don’t have that and it’s not something that can go on forever. I mean, I know that if I were sitting here five years from now I am not going to have a caregiver with me side-by-side all the time. But if you can have somebody with you in the beginning to help sift through all the information from the hospitals, and be writing things down for you I think that’s very important because we found many mistakes along the way. Doctors and hospitals and the information can be very, very confusing. I mean, there’s so much information. So if you have somebody that can help you sift through it’s, it helps to make it a lot easier.