1. Acknowledge Your Fear
Those who have suffered through the words "tumor," or "life threatening," or any other adjective that goes along with a terrifying diagnosis understand fear. Talk to anyone who has suffered through a life-altering diagnosis and this is what they will tell you, "The doctor gave me that diagnosis, and I was so stunned, I didn't hear anything she told me after that."
By acknowledging your fear, you are facing it. Facing it begins to give you some of the strength you will need to learn about it. And learning about it will help you begin to conquer it.
Empowered patients understand that fear is a part of the process. Overcoming the fear helps us feel more powerful over our diagnosis.
2. Find an AdvocateFinding someone to assist you with the tasks you'll undertake to manage the learning and decision making processes in front of you, will be a big help.
4. Get OrganizedFrom starting a journal and recording symptoms and triggers, to getting copies of your medical test results and comparing them to information you track down on the Internet, you'll need a system for staying organized while you learn all you can about your disease or condition.
5. Develop Your "Patientude"Patientude is an attitude that exudes confidence and commands respect. It's an absolute necessity when it comes to communicating with other members of your healthcare team. It's the attitude that you deserve only the best care, and you'll do whatever it takes to make that happen.
6. Trust Your IntuitionBecause you know your body better than anyone else does, and because you may be able to hear that little voice inside that guides you, learning to trust that little voice can help you make some of the important decisions ahead of you.
7. Double Check Your Records Including Test ResultsAttempting to read your medical records, using medical dictionaries or library or Internet resources, will provide you with a deeper understanding of what is wrong with you. Further, you'll want to correct any errors in your records which may have an impact on your true diagnosis.
An empowered patient also understands the privacy and security rules and regulations that affect how she obtains her medical records.