BEING YOUR OWN ADVOCATE

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that whenever you are dealing with anything medically related, you have to hang onto your goals like a bulldog. In so many instances, I believe things get forgotten, derailed, and ignored. If you don’t stay on top of things, you’ll get lost in the sea of paperwork and your health problems will continue to plague you.

Although it’s hard to attend to medical appointments, diagnoses and treatments, it is necessary. If you don’t do it, it isn’t going to get done and you are going to continue to suffer. The advice I give to the veterans I work with is to get a calendar specifically for your VA-related appointments. Write everything down! Keep a record of the dates you spoke to someone, what was said, and what plan was made for treatment. When you hit a brick wall and can’t proceed any further, then contact a Service Officer to help you get the authorization you need to go to a local health care provider and use their services.

Being your own advocate is difficult and time-consuming, but it does make things much easier if you are willing to do it. Keeping a log of your appointments, what is said by any medical personnel, and what plans are being made for treatment will help you stay on track.

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