Why I Am My Own Health Advocate

As I tried to find out what was wrong with me I confronted the first time in my life that I had an MRI. Of course, I should have had one 15+ years ago but that was not the case.

Why I Am My Own Health Advocate

It all started with a fun snowball fight. I was not meant to be part of it but, unfortunately, I was a victim of it.
A few days later I still had a terrible headache and a sensation as if I was constantly in motion. I went to the doctor who, after sending me for an x-ray, determined that I had a concussion and that a piece of my skull had gotten dislodged and was basically floating around. He gave me a bit of basic advice and I honestly do not remember him doing much else.
Rough Seas

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The trouble began with a snowball fight.

 

I was not meant to be part of it but, unfortunately, I was a victim of it.

 

One weekend, 15 years ago, the hubby and I decided to bring the kids to Big Bear for some snow fun. We found a place to go sleigh riding and play in the snow but our daughter (then 3-years-old) was very frightened when we put her down in the snow. She had never seen snow before. I told the hubby to bring the boys to get started and that our baby girl and I would join shortly.

 

Eventually, she got brave and we went to join the boys for a fun family day. It was great until I managed to get caught at the wrong place at the wrong time in the middle of a snowball fight between some older teenaged boys.

 

A snowball went off course and smacked me right in the back of my head. To make matters worse the snowball was not so much of a snowball but more of an ice ball.  The boys felt terrible and my head was definitely hurting. However, at that time,  I did not know how serious it was.

 

A few days later I still had a terrible headache and a sensation as if I was constantly in motion. I went to the doctor who, after sending me for an x-ray, determined that I had a concussion. He advised that a piece of my skull had gotten dislodged and was floating in my head. My doctor gave me a bit of basic advice and I honestly do not remember him doing much else.

 

For the next 15 years, I would have a sensation as if I was riding a roller coaster.

 

It would happen once or twice per month and last for just a minute or two and then pass.

 

I thought that this was the way it was always going to be but then something changed.

 

In January, I started to get regular headaches, my head felt heavy, and I often felt as if I was on a roller coaster or on rough seas. At first, I thought I was fighting a cold so I went to work on the cold in my normal holistic ways. However, I had no relief so after two weeks I went to my Primary Care Physician (pcp) who advised that my head was not at all congested, prescribed steroids for inflammation (even though he did not see any), and told me to call in 5 days if there was no significant relief. There was zero relief.

 

My January and February was filled with MRI’s, Cat Scans, hearing tests  and many doctor visits (neurologist, ENT, Optometrist, etc.)

 

I had to push for many of these referrals but I would not take no for an answer.

 

I knew something was wrong.

 

After a while, and several consultations, I thought I had it figured out. As my own health advocate, I was right but was also in for a shock. Apparently, I had been misdiagnosed all those years ago. There was no floating piece of my skull. However, there was an untreated situation that was now manifesting in a much bigger way.

 

I place blame on no one for my situation. The snowball fight was innocent fun that mistakenly went wrong. My doctor did the best he could with the knowledge he had at the time. Technology has changed and I am thankful. It has made it much easier to learn things that were not apparent in the past. I appreciate that my medical doctor ordered all the referrals and tests that he felt I need and/or I asked for.

 

I am now in specialized Physical Therapy for the original injury and the subsequent vision and balance problems that it has caused. PT multiple times per week and special exercises at home is part of my regular routine. I am diffusing essential oils and taking supplements that help with my symptoms and recovery. I am already feeling much better and will be in better health than I was even before this episode began. That is because I was my own health advocate.

 

 

If you feel that something is off with your health push for what you feel you need. Click To Tweet

 

Do not hesitate to be your own health advocate.

 

Live the life you deserve.

 

Getting back to my normal routine is so wonderful. I am back to writing and teaching. I am working with all of my awesome clients on things such as Holistic Wellness, Mindset, and launching or expanding their businesses. My journey as a Volo Founding COach ha already been amazing. I am currently building a team of truly spectacular women who want to build their business and are using Volo Courses and products as a way to help them along. I am also looking forward to a visit from our daughter  and just found out that we are going to get to see some really good friends soon too. Life is good. I am grateful for it all,

 

How about you? What do you have going on? Are you taking care of your health? Are you advocating for what you need?

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About The Author

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho is a Natural Health Specialist, CBD Entrepreneur, and Life Skills Counselor.

Dr. Ho offers 30 years of experience and holds multiple certifications and degrees including a Ph.D. in Natural Health and a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Psychology.

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79 thoughts on “Why I Am My Own Health Advocate”

  1. I’m so glad you are finally getting the right treatment, and shocked that you didn’t have the right diagnosis for so long. It’s so important to be your own health advocate. I’m learning to speak up a lot more and currently trying to muster the courage to ask for a referral on one of my long-term symptoms that has rendered me never feeling quite right. #sharingthebloglove

  2. Goodness, how frightening. Having just had snow here, it’s a reminder that even the most innocent of activities can potentially have serious effects.

  3. OMG that’s so scary. Well done for not only insisting on the various tests but for having the foresight to be your own advocate. Hopefully you will all be well now you know what is and are being treated for it.

  4. I am so sorry for your misdiagnosis – thankfully you’re getting the treatment that is required now and can make a full recovery!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow.

  5. Almost four years ago I feel unwell and spent three years fighting for answers. I spent a lot of that time in hospital, having countless scans, seeing too many consultants to mention, and often being wrongly diagnosed or important things missed. I had to become my own advocate and it was horrific in so many ways. Much love to you, Thank you for joining us at #bigpinklink

  6. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a long journey to sort this out. It’s amazing how a misdiagnosis can have such long term repercussions. I think lots of people struggle with this though. It’s so easy to feel intimidated by medical professionals, and we get lost for words. I’ve got better since having children, when I’ve had to be their advocate, and I’m trying to apply that to my own health too. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  7. oh goodness, how awful, I’m really glad you’ve got to the bottom of things now and are finding some relief….. but it does highlight how you must listen to your body, first and foremost. I’ve had similar experiences with misdiagnoses and it can be frustrating and mean the issues go on for a lot longer as they aren’t treated properly in the first place, so I really hope you feel a lot better very soon!

  8. Blair Villanueva

    Your story is very inspiring and I’m glad you are in the road to recovery. You are doing great! Oh keep on writing, it helps a lot 😀

  9. This is amazing and poignant, and what I consider an origin story. The beginning of the story is usually a spiritual 2×4, calling one to step into a role that one might not be prepared or ready for. In the end, as we listen to that calling, we step into that which we have come to be. I am grateful for your message and your courage to say “yes” enabling others to be their own health advocate. Thanks for walking your talk, Dr. Elise. With blessings and deep appreciation, Evelyn, PathofPresence.com

  10. Elise, I’m so glad you’re getting some relief from this. Yes, you really must advocate for yourself. I just had a three-year painful problem solved by an orthopedic hand surgeon that had been called “a little arthritis” by a number of other doctors.

  11. Bless you darling, I will keep you in my pays of healing and I am so glad you are on the road to recovery.

  12. It can be so exhausting persuading doctors sometimes. I feel it happens most often when you fall in a grey area. However, for years I was diagnosed with mild depression when it actually the perimenopause. I couldn’t challenge the doctors except to say ‘I’m not depressed, that doesn’t make sense’. Had I understood that the menopause starts in late 40’s I may have fought harder. I’m so pleased that you finally got a solution to your health issue. I agree that it’s usually no-ones fault. But gosh, I wish medical diagnosis was better! x

    1. As I read through the responses to this post my heart is warmed by all of the love being sent my way. Secondly, I feel so sad that there are so many of us in this club of people who have been misdiagnosed.

  13. Omg how scary!!!! It’s so important to be on top of our health. No one knows ourselves better than we do! Best to stay on top of things

  14. Inspiring! First of all I’m glad your doing much better. Two you have such a great attitude. Three man this story screams of “trust your own instics” I love it. And your right sometimes you have to follow that gut feeling when something just isn’t right. Well Done!

  15. There are times when you have to be your own advocate when no other doctors will listen to you. We do know our bodies more than others.

  16. Wow, what a story. I am so glad you a feeling much better. I always try to trust my instinct, I have such a bad experience with incompetent doctors. If I have listened to a doctor who said that my pain wasn’t appendix, I wouldn’t be writing this today.

  17. That sounds scary, always worth getting any head injury checked by a registered medical professional. Can’t leave these things to chance

  18. Wow I’m sorry you had to go through that, it sounds awful. I’ve had some misdiagnoses of my own, luckily they weren’t serious, but they definitely taught me the importance of advocating for myself.

  19. For our family this has been such a critical piece of the puzzle! My husband almost died 3 times because of misdiagnosis. My son was misdiagnosed at 6 with PDD-NOS, and it turned out he had issues that were fixable. For me I almost died when the doctors missed a splenic artery aneurysm. Every person needs to learn the skills to self advocate when it comes to health. If you can’t do it on your own, find somebody to help you. It probably will save your life one day!

    1. Bonnie, OMG! It sounds as if your family life has been saved from your own advocacy. It is so sad how often misdiagnosis occurs. I wonder what the real statistics are.

  20. This is why it’s so important to trust your instinct. Sorry to hear that you still have to deal with this issue. This post is such a great remember to educate ourselves and to not take no for an answer.

  21. As an adult if I don’t advocate for my own health who will? A couple years ago I had a pain in my foot and after the doctor prescribed pain meds and a negative x-ray came back without a diagnosis I moved onto another doctor. P.S. that doctor asked if I had shellfish or maybe tied my shoe too tight????? New doctor ordered an MRI and I had a stress fracture.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a good thing that you went to that new doctor. Imagine if you walked around with that for an extended period of time.

  22. Wow, what a scary situation! I think many of us put too much trust in doctors who can be prone to mistakes. It is important we seek a second opinion if a doctor’s diagnosis doesn’t feel right. Thank you for sharing your story and for this important reminder!

    1. Doctor’s are only human. They can make mistakes and/or miss important details. Second and third opinions are definitely a good idea.

  23. I have always said “I know my body” and every time I’ve gotten some lame diagnosis (like “you’re depressed, that’s all!), I’ve pushed to the limit to find out why I feel the way I feel. As women, I’ve felt like we get labeled with depression because we are such emotional creatures; however, if a man went in with our symptoms, they would be taken seriously. Such a double standard, indeed. I think every single one of us has to be our own advocate. I hope you’re feeling much better now and hate to hear you had to go through all this!

  24. Wow this is so super important and not many trust to listen to themselves. I am my own health advocate too! I thank you for writing this post! So happy to find it at the blog linkup today.

  25. I’ve been saying this for years, that you have to fight for your own health, and be your own health advocate. Some doctors will do as little as you let them get away with.
    Also, when you’re ill, or in hospital, or rehab, you need someone else there with you!!

    Inspire Me Mondays

  26. Oh gosh what an ordeal to go through. I am glad you pushed harder for referrals and to get the correct diagnosis, you know your body better than anyone. I hope you recover soon.

  27. Elise, I am glad you are on the mend, or at least feeling better. Yes we do need to be savvy consumers, I like to say even in the health area. Ask questions, and do what we can do, eat healthy, essential oils, vitamins, working out and more. This also means stepping away from our electronics.
    I love to ask questions, receive more opinions to be that personal health advocate.
    Here is to an amazing healing journey xx

  28. Hi Elise,

    Oh my, that does sound scary and for it to cause problems after this long of a time. So happy to hear that you are on your way to recovery.

    Kind of makes me wonder about my fall in September 2017. The doctor keeps saying no problem with my ears or sinuses but it sure feels like something isn’t right in there.

    1. Monna, do not listen to them. Push for what you feel you need and then push some more. If your feelings something is not right it likely is not right!

  29. Icky indeed! I find the anecdotal story inspiring because we cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can control our reaction and care…

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