Hey, Crystal here! Let's get personal... I want to share with you, how I took the huge step of advocating for myself, and how I realized advocating for myself was a form of self-care.
I'm usually on top of things and constantly busy, working full time as a project manager, running the boutique when I'm not at my 9-5, working out, spending time with my family/friends, and so much more. But this past week, I zoned out and let myself succumb to the anxiety, doubt, loneliness, and stress of a medical procedure. Long story short, I had to get a biopsy for an upcoming fibroid embolization. Trying to get to the biopsy appointment, prep for it, find someone to sign me out after the appointment, and get home was stress inducing. Also, planning for the embolization the following got to me. Again, finding someone who would have time to go with me, take me home, and care for me since my fiancée wasn't able to get off work. Not to mention, the procedure would have me out for a week of bed rest.
In order to feel better about the process and de-stress, I needed to snap out of it, and take action. If I didn't help myself, nobody else would. Think of that analogy of putting your mask on first when it drops from the airplane overhead cabin. So that was step one, take action, followed by:
Asking for help. I usually don't, that's one of my character flaws. I couldn't be afraid of asking for help. I reached out to a close friend, and she was more than happy to sign me out and make sure I got to where I was going after the biopsy. Thanks Marie! Crazy how something so simple, just asking a friend, can help and add ease to a tough situation. Also, don't get in your way like I did.
Let my voice be heard. Living in a small town that's almost 2 hours from a major airport can be annoying, especially for those traveling out of state. When asking a family member to help, they seemed hesitant and unsure if they were able to, due to logistics (again living far away from an airport isn't fun, neither is trying to figure out how to commute to the clinic in New York City. I put my foot down and said nope, I need you! I came up with a plan to help resolve the worry about traveling. We talked it out and they agreed to help.
Sometimes bridges need to be burned. Before I even got to where I am, I had to dump my previous provider. Note, this was an all-women's health clinic who promoted putting women and their health needs first. Not that case! When they discovered the fibroids (5 total) after already knowing I had one, they wanted me to just, "keep an eye on them, they shouldn't be a problem as most aren't and take ibuprofen for the pain." Wrong answer, and not acceptable! I said no to that response. I should have been given an ultrasound and scheduled next steps, not small talk. I then shared my family's history with fibroids, my current struggles due to fibroids, and that I needed this resolved. I PUSHED for the care I needed and deserved; I also submitted a negative review after the appointment with no intentions of going back. Two weeks later, they offered a list of providers who could do the procedure, and an ultrasound referral. That was too little too late! I did my own research and found a OBGYN practice that specialized in fibroid removal. Within minutes of calling, I had an appointment scheduled to see a doctor 3 days later.
I had to prioritize me. I've decided to dial back all the things I'm doing and involved in. Every day till the big procedure, I'm going to do something that I enjoy, or pampers my soul. My self-care plan includes: not working out too much/if at all (ya I said it, I'm taking a break), going out with friends, acupressure before bed, prioritizing sleep, luxurious showers, hair treatments, facials, catch up on a few shows, finishing a few books I started, sewing projects, a mani pedi... you get it.
While going through all of this, I realized... advocating for myself is caring for myself. If I didn't, where would I be? I would be worse off for sure, or still stuck in my negative mood. I share all of this to encourage you to advocate for yourself. Take action and prioritize you, it might take some work, but it's work that is worth it!