Posted by Susan Armenti (@sarmenti) · Wed, Jul 30 at 8:49pm CST
Susan Armenti - Patient/Caregiver Scholarship 2014
Hello, my name is Susan Armenti.
My cancer woke me up in the middle of the night eighteen years ago with a sensation in my breast. The road since has been full of twists and turns clearly with some obvious success, since I am feeling good and here to tell the story but, also at times with misdiagnosis, allergic reactions, infections and botched surgery.
What I have learned from my experience I want to share so perhaps other patients would be more informed, empowered and knowledgeable about how to be an effective participant in their own healing. While doctors can provide the tools, the medicine and the procedures that address disease, it is essential the patient be actively involved in getting well.
The average patient, especially one who has previously been in good health, enters into the maze of health care with little in the way of facts. Not being a doctor they don't have the expertise and education on the subject that the professionals have. But they are the expert on their own body. They are the only ones that can tap into their intuition. They know what feels right and what feels off. The patient is the only one that can say what their body is feeling. To be encouraged to communicate that to your caretakers is essential to addressing so many health concerns. From an IV being in wrong, to pain medicine that is either too strong or too weak, to food that is upsetting, to sleep that isn't sound - it is the patient that needs to convey this information to the doctors. Doctors may be good but they aren't clairvoyant.
Because I wanted to share my experience I wrote a book that details my story and also gives basic information that breast cancer patients need to have to be conversant with their doctors. My book, SENSATION IN THE NIGHT: WAKING UP TO BREAST CANCER, was my way of giving back and encouraging other women to find the help, solutions, care and advice they need. I am hopeful that participating in the Mayo conference would help me share the information in the book.
Breast cancer, like so many other diseases and serious health conditions, both require so much from the patient and take so much from the patient. If I could help just one patient be more informed and more at peace l about the care path they are taking because they are confident they have asked good questions, then I wrote a successful book.
Thank you for considering me to attend the conference.
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