Taking the time to thoughtfully select the members of your healthcare team can make all of the difference in your quality of life and health outcomes. It is often helpful to get a second opinion, or even a third. Choosing healthcare providers you are comfortable speaking with will help you work together as a team. Making decisions that are right for you will make your choices easier to incorporate into your life and may make your journey more enjoyable and satisfying.
Potentially life-changing decisions are one aspect of having a serious illness. Each of us is unique in how we make decisions. Some people want to know everything they possibly can about their disease. They want to make all their own treatment decisions. Other people prefer to have their healthcare providers make treatment decisions based on their knowledge and expertise. Some prefer having a friend or family member seek out and sort through information. Many use a combination of approaches.
Each person has his or her own treatment goals. Some consider getting rid of the disease to be their most important goal. Others top priority is enjoying the best possible quality of life. Many have a list of goals with some being more important than others are. Many people make lifestyle changes, while others do not make such choices for personal reasons.
We urge you to identify your personal strengths and limitations. Decide what makes up an acceptable quality of life for you. Knowing these things will help you choose a healthcare team that is best suited to your treatment goals and personality.
How you go about maintaining your health, and whomever you decide to consult for your healthcare is up to you. However, we urge you to gather information about the different treatment options you are considering. This will help you make informed decisions about who should be on your healthcare team.
“To be an ambassador for your own health, you must be willing to be genuinely, proactively involved in assembling your healthcare team.