Amplifying Our Voices
It's a new year and with a new year comes new dreams, new goals, new aspirations and more ways to create change. I recently shared an article on my blog titled, Patient Advocacy & Politics: How to Take Charge of Your Healthcare and Create Change in Your Community. It's about how you can get started sharing your voice and making a change in your community.
Speaking up and fighting as patients
There are so many big names working on changing the American healthcare system and how it operates, but who better to take on such a task than patients? Healthcare impacts us the most. We are the ones that have to live with the decisions these politicians are making. We are the ones who have to deal with issues like step therapy and access to bathrooms owned by private businesses. We have to face financial difficulty while trying to navigate the system and use benefits that are rightfully ours.
I am a firm believer in being the change you seek. If we see gaps in the healthcare system that have a negative impact on patients, we need to point them out. Even if we must do it from the comfort of our own home.
For a long time, I was extremely sick. I could barely make it to work and even had to take months off at a time. I know what it's like to feel like your voice doesn't matter. But I want to tell you, it does. I know what it's like to wonder, "what could I possibly do?" Especially from a hospital bed. Back then, I began to share my story. I shared it online and I thought that was enough.
Truth is, I was making a difference
Sharing my story was making a difference. People connected with me on all sorts of different social platforms telling me how much they'd appreciated my honesty and how IBD has impacted them or a family member. Sharing your story makes a difference. Sharing your story will change lives, and eventually, we will need to share those stories on a different level.
Once you become comfortable with talking about your condition and understand how it impacts your body and your health/ healthcare, it's the perfect time to take your advocacy to the next level and share that same information with Congress. To be honest, I don't know much about politics. I've never fully understood the ins and outs of things, but I know these people make big decisions that will have big impacts on patients like me.
I've always been really intimidated by the topic, but I now realize two things: 1) There is no better time than the present. 2) There is no one who can represent you better than yourself. No one knows your needs better than you. We must take a stand. If you're not confident enough yet to visit your representatives in person, try an email. Introduce yourself. Let them know how their decisions impact you. Don't know what to say? The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation has some amazing outlines and initiatives they are working on. Start there! Start now.
Will you take our In America survey to help others understand the true impact of Crohn's and UC?