5 S.T.E.P.S. to Being Your Own Patient Advocate

ImageGuest Post by Cristy L. Kessler

In Mid-November the eBook version of 5 S.T.E.P.S to Being your Own Patient Advocate was released and on December 1, the print version was released. It has been an exciting time for me to watch this process unfold.

In July 2013, Liz and I made our annual trek to Europe. This particular trip would include visits to Brighton and London in the United Kingdom and, what now has become a part of this annual trip, to Turkey to visit my transplant team at Anadolu Medical Center. It was during this year’s visit that I finally was able to voice to the feelings I had been having in terms of what I hoped to do with my new-found healthy life. I wanted to work for Anadolu, or at least help to make others in the world aware of this first-class medical facility with world class doctors and patient representatives/advocates. As I continued to toss the idea around, the idea for the book came into focus. I would use my own story to help others understand how to navigate their own medical journey.

5 S.T.E.P.S. to Being Your Own Patient Advocate is a guide for patients and a peek into my own life. When I say guide, it is just that. The book is a framework that others could use in whole, or part, to help empower themselves to navigate what sometimes can be a very winding road. When I say it gives you a peek into my life, I use snapshots from my medical journey to provide the reader with real-life examples for each step. The easiest part of writing this book was that I found my writer’s voice almost immediately. I didn’t have the writer’s block I had had in the past, it all just seemed to flow. I also impressed myself, even if I do say so myself, that I was able to project my sense of humor in my writing. And when the first draft was finally on paper, I realized I do have something to say that is grounded in years of actual experience.

From the time I was twenty-four years old (1995) until age forty (2011), I had nine major procedures, three major treatment plans, which involved lengthy out-patient administration at the hospital or training from specialists at the hospital, and two visits to major health care centers where I spent a week meeting various doctors of different specialties and having further testing done: the first to see if I was a candidate for a stem cell transplant, and the other to confirm what my rheumatologist diagnosed in Hawaii. I had been to eleven different hospitals located in three different states and two in foreign countries. All of this in sixteen years.

That’s a lot of medical stuff. I don’t care who you are. Wink, wink. But what still amazes me when I see this list, this number of health events, is that I was able to get the end result I needed, a stem cell transplant. I really hope the numbers mentioned above have peaked your curiosity enough to want to read my book. I can assure you, for those that do know me, I wrote this just like I would be having a conversation with you. My sense of humor is spot on so I know if nothing else, you will find yourself laughing at some point. Maybe it will be the impatient patient wanting to be bald, or maybe it will be the story where I agree that one of my health issues was truly “just in my head.”

I hope you pick up the book and walk through the snapshots of my life with me. Both the eBook and/or the print version are available at nearly all online outlets: Kindle, Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, theCopia, Sony, iBookstore, eBay

If you buy your print copy from the CreateSpace eStore, enter Z3UCRCM9 for a 10% discount.

Mahalo Nui Loa, Cristy

Visit our website for more information.

About Sharon

**Writing, both personal and professional, has always been an important aspect of my life. **Personally, whether I write from experience or invent fictional characters, I learn so much about myself. Writing has always helped me understand and deal with important events and issues in my life. The blog, "Boxelders and Blackberries" serves this purpose. **My "gravatar" is a boxelder tree, which I hope provides a way to bring together my personal and professional writing. The boxelder tree branches into multiple trunks, each representing a different direction my life and career has taken.
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