Deborah Spector

My continuing journey
Self-Advocacy is key to your well-being!

Self-Advocacy is key to your well-being!

I am a passionate, committed and motivated advocate on issues in which I believe. My professional focus centers on community benefit organizations committed to advocating for the greater good. Advocacy means to speak up, to plead the case of another or to fight for a cause.

But it never occurred to me that I would need to advocate for myself until I got a lung cancer diagnosis!

I quickly realized that I needed to be very proactive in my healthcare from this point forward. I wanted to ensure that I was getting the quality care that I wanted and felt I needed.

Self-advocacy empowers me and helps me feel hopeful. It gives me the strength and energy I need to be at the table with my healthcare providers and to actively engage them in the decision-making process.

When you are proactive and educated about lung cancer and other lung diseases, you will impact the quality of your life and the healthcare you receive.

Ellen Stovall, cancer survivor and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship President and Elizabeth Johns Clark, PhD, MSW, identified some of the important reasons for self-advocacy:

  • Advocacy gives you some stability and a feeling of regaining some control in your life.
  • Advocacy is confidence building in the way it helps you face challenges that seem insurmountable.
  • Advocacy is a way of reaching out to others and involving them in your care. This can be as simple as asking your doctor to introduce you to someone dealing with the same issues.
  • Advocacy can improve your quality of life.
  • Commitment to shared responsibility with your medical team can contribute to the goal of physical, emotional, and mental health.


Important skills for positive self-advocacy

Research skills to learn all you can about your type of lung cancer and other lung diseases as well as treatment options. Research helps you prepare for meaningful questions to ask your healthcare provider.

Interpersonal communication is important because it helps you communicate well and effectively interact with others. Interpersonal skills include verbal, written, listening and non-verbal communications.

Problem-solving skills help you become an active instead of passive survivor. These skills help you create a trusted team with your healthcare providers to make needed decisions. Problem-solving involves being open-minded and inquisitive.

Negotiating skills create better outcomes and understanding between you and your healthcare providers. Successful negotiations make it possible for you to receive what you need as well as what you want. Done in good faith, negotiations can create a win-win towards your continued health and well-being.

I try to wake up every day feeling positive! Even when something isn’t perfect about the day I smile and feel engaged with life!

Self-advocacy definitely improves my quality of life. It adds to my resolve to be joyful and to use my skills to reach out to you and others!

For more information on self-advocacy and cancer checkout The Cancer Survival Toolbox.

Do you have any suggestions for positive self-advocacy? I’d love to hear them!

Thoughts for a positive day!

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