The surgery technicians worked ambitiously as my skin absorbed the waves from the fancy machine. My gut-brain-heart had confidently intersected and rumbled that this space, place and actions should not be. Something was not right. I needed to stop it, to say no thank you, not right now or that I wished another opinion. Something! Anything? As loudly and as heavy as I could both hear and feel it, I could not find a way for it to escape. My Voice. The voice I needed in this moment of self advocacy escaped me.
Voice, often the product of where gut-brain-heart intersect: where our intuition, knowledge and emotions collide. There are times when our voices speak loudly, out of turn to nothings or whisper softly without confidence when faced with importance. It is the final feat of Voice however that we must learn to outdo, it has the capacity to remain unspoken and unheard at a time when the need is unparalleled. Our health.
The gift of diabetes comes wrapped with demands: time, financial, emotional, mental and physical. These pieces come packaged, tied with a string of added pressure that we also now carry, every minute of every hour, each day, forever. Without delay, the string tugs, it tightens to a knotted pressure as we quickly recognize this dual gift, we have now also been named CEO of Self Advocacy. Our voices can no longer choose ambiguity or to rest unambitious in decisions of health and self care, this would invite opportunity for “unchange”, unchanged options, stagnant tools and non collaborative decisions in managing our health.
There is maybe no arena where voice is more urgent than in the care and management of our own health. How then, overwhelmingly too often, do we allow ourselves to feel unable, unempowered, to rest unambitious in ambiguity in advocating for our health? Do we become overwhelmed by titles, fancy machines, unfamiliar spaces or the pressures of time? Is it exhaustion, frustration or burnout? The intersect inside that should produce voice and scream with thought, for reasons is minimized to silence. Quietly we leave as the office door closing speaks louder than Voice.
A recent healthcare experience left me feeling disappointed, ashamed and fearful of my own less than ambitious effort in self advocacy. Initially, I did question, I bargained, I said no thank you, I asked for calls to be made and plans double checked. It was what my voice finally snipped, ignoring my gut, my brain and my heart, that allowed for these emotions of collapsed disappointment in self, “Fine. Just do it. Whatever you think is best”. My brain, body and voice exhausted, my advocacy string pulled too tight, I caved. I had betrayed my own health.
I sat with the squashed and dismantled intersect that now existed between my gut-brain-heart, and I waited. The technicians again worked with the fancy machine and the surgeon stood confident with weapons. It was in this same half stunned moment however, that the impact of not allowing my gut-heart-brain intersect to facilitate Voice sank heavy.
The surgeon had made a mistake, an error in judgement. He called for an expert, the procedure was called off. My gut. My brain. My heart. Listen.
Traveling through airports and security lines I’ve often seen signs, “If You See Something, Say Something.” What if when entering the healthcare space, self advocacy efforts essential, similar signs existed and the message encouraged, “If You Feel Something, Say Something.” Diabetes lives with us, we carry it everywhere. We sleep with it, dine with it, inspect it, we have duals with it. It knows our secrets and the cookies we stole. A more intimate relationship most likely inconceivable, we are its voice and advocate.
It’s ok to say “no”, to ask questions and to feel unsure. This is the rest of our body, beyond diabetes, our gut-brain-heart intersect asking graciously that we advocate for and speak on behalf of. When that space where intuition, knowledge and emotions intersect allows us to “feel something”, it is maybe even an obligation to our health to “say something”. Not today. I need more time. No thank you. It’s OK to feel something.