Being Your Own Health Advocate

When it comes to your health, it is important that you become a good advocate for yourself. This means knowing what treatment options are available to you. It also means making sure that any treatment decisions are made in your best interest. 

So how can you become your own advocate? Here are some tips from patients like you:

Learn all you can about your disease and available treatment options. Being informed can help you and your doctor choose treatments that are best suited for you.
Ask questions of your doctor and your entire healthcare team. Start a list of questions. If possible, take along another person who can take notes for you. And don’t be embarrassed to ask questions and request explanations if you don’t understand something.
Talk to others who have been diagnosed with Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA) and Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA). It is important to know that you are not alone. By sharing your experiences with others who have these diseases, you can help each other learn more.
Let your family and friends know how you are feeling. Work with your family and friends to set realistic expectations about managing your disease and moving forward.
Manage your own medical information. You have the right to know and understand what tests are being done, as well as the results of those tests. Be sure to ask for copies of any reports or doctor's notes. Keep your records organized in a portable file so you can take them with you to your appointments.
Encourage your doctors to communicate and work together. You may have many specialists involved in your treatment. It is important that they coordinate treatment plans, share information, and consult each other every step of the way.
Tell your doctor or nurse if you experience any side effects from Rituxan. He or she may be able to help you manage some of the possible side effects of Rituxan® (rituximab).