How To Advocate For Yourself | Saying What You Need, Respecting Others

How To Advocate For Yourself | Saying What You Need, Respecting Others

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– Hey everybody, welcome back. (upbeat music) My name is Elly Brown, and if you’re new, my channel is the best place on YouTube, for survivors to thrive. So if you like videos
about getting on with it, getting it done, even in the
face of life’s adversity, go right down there, click subscribe, because I have a feeling you’re
gonna like this channel too. Come join us, come be a
part of our community. We love to help each other. Today, I’m gonna talk a
little bit to you about how to become your own best advocate because there’s gonna be a time, when you wake up one day, look
at yourself in the mirror, and think, “you have got to
start standing up for yourself”. Look, everybody may love you, but nobody has more of an interest in your well-being than you. You are your own best advocate. Think about it. Nobody else cares more about
the outcome of your life or has a bigger stake in it than you. So, why do we settle for less? Why do we let so much slip under the rug? Why do we put up with
inequality, accept less pay, settle for bad doctors
who don’t listen to us? Being your own advocate means that you stand up for yourself,
and you say what you need, while still respecting other people. So many of us have it
ingrained in our head that, “I don’t want to rock the boat or make a big a stink or
be the squeaky wheel.” I know I’m like that. The thought of actually
standing up to anyone in the healthcare industry
or at the insurance company or at a job, it just
seemed dangerous somehow, like, “Ehh, I’d rather
not be confrontational.” When I think back on my
life and all the times that I really let people walk all over me. I didn’t think I was,
because everyone around me was accepting the same
level, same level of care, same level of pay, same
level of opportunity. But since being sick, I see so clearly now that I deserved so much
more in so many situations that have nothing to do
with my health, really, I mean jobs I should
have made more money at, opportunities I wanted but
was afraid to ask for it. But here’s the thing I’ve learned, it’s a dog eat dog world out there. People are only ever gonna
give you the bare minimum. We love to think that the
world is full of nice people that will just give and
give and give and give, but there’s so many situations
in business, in healthcare, in schools, where you only get what people are willing to give. And if you don’t ask for
more, if you don’t demand more in a kind way, then ain’t
nobody gonna give you extra stuff, extra money,
extra privileges, extra perks, extra comfort, extra thought. We have to be able to stand up and say, “This is a thing I want. How can we make it happen so that it’s a good thing for you too?” I’ve said it before in some of my videos, but it was the same in
the world I came from, in entertainment. Everyone goes into an
entertainment career, so bright-eyed and
innocent and they think, “Ah, someone will see my talent and they’ll want to make me a star”. It is nothing like that. Nobody wants to make
your dreams come true. They want to make their dreams come true. People don’t even see sick people and automatically run to help them. I mean there’s plenty
of pitiful sick people around the world who need help
and they’re being ignored. We have to learn how to
ask for what we want. So many times in life, we
have to figure out a way to make getting what we want
beneficial to other people and that means adding value to their life. In the case of healthcare where you want a certain level of care, the best place to start
is just self-advocacy. When I was diagnosed with oral cancer, my partner refused to let me settle. He knew that we had to
advocate for ourselves, but I didn’t know how to do that. In the beginning, I was
just sitting around at home, waiting to be assigned an oncologist. If I hadn’t been with him,
I probably would have just waited until they were
ready to give me one. I would have taken whatever
doctor they assigned me and time would have passed
and my tumor would have grown and who knows what other horrible outcomes could have happened, but
my partner said to me, “No, absolutely not. We’re not waiting for an
appointment and we certainly aren’t taking whatever
doctor they assign us. We are going to choose your doctor.” My head nearly exploded
because I’d never considered that I’d be trying to force
that outcome in my favor. I had just been told
that I had oral cancer, it was the lowest point in my life. My mindset had completely flipped to “game over, it’s been
fun, we had a good run, what’s that point?” I was so wrong! He said to me, “Elly, we are driving to the nearest cancer center and we are going to talk to the front desk until we can get into
see the doctor we want.” And I said, “Ricky, that’s
not how things work, there are rules, there are
procedures, there is paperwork, there’s other people in line too. We can’t just waltz in
like we own the joint and pull a sit-down strike in the lobby. It’s just crazy!” He said, “Elly, we have
to try, you’re too young, you’re a singer, you’re
career is at stake, we need the best care possible.” Ah, I was so angry at him. I said, “Okay”, but inside
my stomach was churning and I’m thinking, “Yeah, great, let’s go make everybody
upset at the cancer center before we even get an appointment. Let’s go flip some tables. Great plan!” I had actually given up
before we had tried anything or asked any questions. I didn’t know how to advocate for myself. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself and say what I wanted. I had left my chutzpah
back with the version of me that didn’t have cancer, but Ricky didn’t. My finance got on the Internet and he looked up the
best oncologist in town and he said, “There, that’s
gonna be your doctor, let’s go.” And we got in the car and we
drove to the cancer center and I had never seen anything
like it in my entire life. He walks right up to the desk. He finds the sweetest,
nicest, cutest old lady and he says, “Ma’am, hello. We don’t have an appointment. We just found out that my
fiancee has oral cancer. She has a giant tumor on
the back of her tongue. Please, we want to see this doctor.” And I’m standing there like, “Ehhhh”, and everything in my entire body is screaming awkward discomfort. I hated this. Who the heck were we? We thought so highly of
ourselves, that we just prance into the cancer center and
say how much we deserve this and that and the other
and we want this doctor and we’re so fancy. I was so embarrassed, I
felt like the squeaky wheel, I felt terrible, I hated
every minute of it. I wanted to disappear into the floor. And this woman, this dear woman
trying to run this office, she looked at him and she looked at me, and she looks back at him, and I see her whole face
change before my eyes, and she says,, “Okay, just have a seat. It might take a little while, but I’m gonna see what we can do.” One hour later, we were in
the scheduling department and shortly after that,
we were right in front of the doctor himself, the
doctor, the one we wanted, because in the moment that
we advocated for ourselves, we became human to
someone who could help us. You can advocate for yourself. I didn’t know how to do it,
but I learned how on that day. Advocating for yourself means
standing up for yourself. It means telling people what you need while still respecting others. We certainly didn’t
march in there thinking that we were better than
anybody else. It felt like it at at the time, but that’s
not what it’s about. Advocating for yourself is
okay and you must to do it if you want the best possible outcomes for your life and your situation. It’s okay to say, “This is doctor I want. This is the treatment I want. This is the pay I deserve. This is the equal opportunity
that I want a shot at. We only hit runs when we swing the bat. Guys, so many of us aren’t
even swinging the bat because we feel so low in the system, or so ignored or so
marginalized by society, or so hopeless from a diagnosis that we don’t even consider that maybe we do deserve the best care or we do deserve a raise in
pay or a shot at a great job. Where is your bat? Is it even out? Are you using it? Are you taking swings? Are you missing a few? Because if you are, great! Chances are if you keep swinging, you’re gonna hit something eventually, but if your bat’s always
put away under the bed, like mine was, you’re only ever gonna get what people feel like offering you, and that’s no way to win big. That is the power of persistence, and it’s a number’s
game, persistence works. If my fiance hadn’t taught me
how to persist in that way, I don’t even want to think
about where I’d be right now. Learning how to advocate for yourself is one of the most important
things you’ll ever do. Was there ever a time
when you weren’t sure if you could advocate for yourself or when you did advocate for yourself, and you got what you wanted? Tell me about it in the comments. Thank you so much for watching. Please consider subscribing. I’ll put two of my other
videos right up here just in case you haven’t
had enough of me yet. And I’ll see you in the next one. (kissing noise) Bye, guys.

7 thoughts on “How To Advocate For Yourself | Saying What You Need, Respecting Others”

  1. Howdy Elly how are you? Missed you. Your my super hero. Keep on keeping on love you bunches. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like your new hairstyle looks cute on you.

  2. I so needed to hear this today, Elly. I'm having a work situation where I need to advocate for myself. Thanks for the boost.

  3. My dad has throat cancer & we settled & waited for a doctor & in the meantime his tumor grew, he ended up with a trach & feeding tube!! I eventually learned to fight for my dad, now I don't take their crap! Thank You for this video..

  4. "Let's go flip some tables", Classic! I know what you mean big time when it comes to advocating for your self. One of the last couple of times, I was in the hospital. I had to say things to get people to hop skip and a jump. I was admitted at the hospital and I was in the emergency room for over twenty four hours waiting on a bed. I basically told the doctor that if I was not in a room within 2 hours, I wanted to be transferred to another hospital. I was finally brought to room within a hour. Another time I was admitted and I was brought up to the room around 4am. Since I am on chronic pain medication and other medications I would need to see the doctors in order to get my meds. I had a bad infection and I was on antibiotics. Every 1/2 hour or so, I spoke to the nurse on getting the doctor to come see me so I can get the antibiotics and pain meds. After the 4th time speaking to the nurse, she informed me that the doctor was going to wait until the morning shift doctors came in to see me. I basically said that he has 30 minutes to come see me or I would be getting the patient care coordinator or ombudsman involved. Sure enough he was in to see me within 15 minutes and ordered the meds. Even if you are in the hospital or what not, you should never lower your guard ever, even if there's nothing occurring to warrant being your own advocate. No matter the situation. Always keep the doctors on their toes when it comes down to your health. Ask for a second opinion if you feel that the doctor is not serious about your health and treatments. On another note, my 12 year old nephew was at a well check visit last week. He was diagnosed with Scoliosis, a heart murmur was detected, along with another possible heart issue. The doctor also referred him to rheumatology for a possible Arthritis diagnosis. I have arthritis, had since I was 8. I emailed a couple of rheumatology doctors that I knew asking about who was the best pediatric rheumatologist in Cleveland. Both of them mentioned the same doctor. One of them also told me that there was a rheumatologist that he didn't think highly of. My nephew was scheduled to see that doctor on Monday. Since I found out who was a really good pediatric rheumatologist, we made an appointment to see the better doctor and canceled the appointment on Monday with the mediocre doctor. Keep up the videos! Thank you for this video.

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