The second principle is to advocate for yourself. So what is that? It means that at every step along the way in your treatment you ask for things nicely (that is very important!) that reduces the stress or increases the comfort of your treatment. This isn’t like a limosine ride to each one of my chemo treatments, it’s more like each time I get chemo, I know I get freezing cold after thirty minutes, so you talk to the nurse ahead of time and say, “Listen I always get cold. Is there any way we can have a warm blanket ready in thirty minutes?”
So why is it important? It’s important because this is the best way to reduce your overall stress as you progress through treatment. It’s not always going to be pleasant, but to the extent that you advocate for yourself and you ask for things in terms of process flexibility, in terms of things that will make you more comfortable, that’s the least stressful way for you to get treatment. It’s important that you start being comfortable asking for those things.
And then always show gratitude! If someone helps you out and does something nice for you, show them gratitude. That’s very important as well.
So what’s an example of that? It might be that you need a blanket because you always get cold during chemo treatment. For me, it was an MRI. They scheduled me to have an MRI on short notice, at one of the centers that had a really small MRI tube and I asked, “Hey is there any other place that is within my network that I could go that has a bigger MRI tube, because then that would make me more comfortable?” I was able to do that and those aren’t fun anyhow, but it made it just a little less stressful.
Those are just a couple things. You’re not going to be able to go and change the course of your treatment, you’re not a doctor, but take the opportunity, ask for things that will make things less stressful and more comfortable for you.
For more on Principle 2 and the other 7 principles, grab a copy of my book, How To Be A Cancer Patient, on Amazon now!