Speak Up For Your Health

Speak Up For Your Health

A podcast empowering you to advocate for the medical care you want and need

All Episodes

Don’t Hesitate Getting A 2nd (3rd, 4th or 8th!) Medical Opinion

Getting a second opinion can give you peace of mind that a diagnosis is right and that you know all the possible treatment options. In this episode, John talks about his journey with prostate cancer and the steps he took to get multiple second opinions before selecting the treatment that felt right for him. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth the effort? Absolutely. Key Takeaways ·     Get educated about your medical condition. Don’t just rely on what the doctor explains in the office. ·     Get a 2nd opinion (and 3rd and 4th ones if necessary) if you have ANY question about your diagnosis or treatment plan. The physicians you choose should be in a different practice so they offer a completely objective opinion regarding your care. ·     Tap into your network of family, friends and colleagues to find other patients with a similar medical condition. Zoom in on the doctors whose name keeps coming up, and then do online research to check their credentials and read patient reviews. ·     Getting in to see specialists can be slow. If you want to get in sooner….get yourself on a waiting list, get to know the office staff, and keep calling back. And, of course, be pleasant. Links Article about waiting times: Get in touch with Archelle Email: [email protected] Instagram: Facebook:
May 14, 2024

Embracing Career Plan B When A Chronic Condition Interferes with Plan A

Many medical condition aren't life-threatening – but they can be life-altering. An injury, infertility, or sometimes, something as simple as a medication can be a barrier to to the life you imagined for yourself. How do you re-imagine a different future and not only survive, but thrive? Dr. Herman Williams survived a cardiac arrest when he was 31. But being an orthopedic surgeon was no longer possible. He had to create and advocate for a different future for himself. Herman shares his story and talks about the biggest barrier he had to overcome to live a life he never dreamed of.  Takeaways: Plan A is not the only option. Here's how to embrace Plan B. See a therapist. This is especially important if you have depression, anxiety or PTSD. But, even if you don’t, having a few sessions with a therapist – or a coach – can help you re-imagine your future. Acknowledge your fear. If fear is holding you back from moving on …tell your doctor. They can't read your mind so be straightforward: “I am really REALLY scared and here’s what I am afraid of”. They will hear you and depending on the situation, they might suggest additional testing, medication adjustment, or recommend extra monitoring to help put you at ease. Friends and family are a lifeline. Appreciate and accept support from those who are closest to you. But also – remember – that YOUR medical condition has an impact on them because being a caregiver – whether its emotional or physical – take a toll.   Links: Read more about Dr. Herman Williams story in his book, "Clear Living the Life You Never Dreamed Of." Get in touch with Archelle Email: [email protected] Instagram: Facebook:
April 30, 2024

Living Fully: Roxane’s Inspirational Goodbye

Roxane has been on a nine month journey with pancreatic cancer and now has only days or weeks to live. She explains why she chose to get aggressive treatment early on and later decided to stop treatment and transition to hospice. Roxane's story and optimistic outlook are uplifting because she is living every moment...while she's dying. Key Takeaways Use every living moment wisely. Even if you're getting aggressive treatment and have hope that cancer treatment will be successful, take advantage of all the time you have. Address the details that give you comfort and control; this will eventually decrease the burden on your family. Hospice is not something to be afraid of. Studies have shown that patients in hospice actually live longer than those with a similar diagnosis who don't receive hospice care. Unfortunately, over 1/2 of all patients are only in hospice for 17 days or less because patients are referred so late in their illness. Get in touch with Archelle Email: [email protected] Instagram: Facebook:
April 16, 2024

Overcoming Weight Bias: A Clinical Psychologist’s Perspective

Is obesity a mental health issue? Is it “right” for people to take the new obesity drugs if they aren’t obese but simply want to lose weight? This episode is not a patient story, but the perspective and experience of a clinical health psychologist who specializes in eating and weight-related issues. Dr. Robyn Pashby talks about the vicious shame-blame cycle of obesity and how patients have autonomy when discussing weight with their doctor. Key Takeaways: Erase a FAULT mindset. Yes, obesity is complex…but it's not someone's fault. Shaming and blaming yourself – or others – simply makes it worse. This bias is embedded in our society, but you have control of your own mindset. Ask for consent. Robyn talked about the importance of clinicians asking permission from patients before talking to them about their weight. But, asking for consent also applies when you approach a friend, a sibling, a parent, a spouse, or even your child who is struggling with weight or body image issues. Ask their permission and be ready to accept and respect “no” as an answer. Links: More about Dr Robyn Pashby: Robyn's Instagram: @robynpashbyphd Get in touch with Archelle Email: [email protected] Instagram: Facebook:
April 2, 2024

Ozempic: Miracle Drug or Lifestyle Crutch? Joe’s Story

Doctors often talk about the medical complications associated with obesity, but it's rare to hear from patients about their experience with this condition and how hard it is to navigate through the healthcare system. In this episode, Joe shares his story about finding the right medical care (including the use of weight loss drugs) and losing over 100 pounds.  Links Survey of medical school deans and obesity education: NYT Article, "One Size Fits All…." Mediflix Documentary: Email: [email protected] Instagram: Facebook:
March 19, 2024

SUFYH: First 10 Episodes Recap (and what I learned)

Listening to guest's stories taught Archelle even more about how to advocate. Key takeaways from the first 10 episodes of Speak Up For Your Health. Links Email: [email protected] Instagram: Facebook:
March 5, 2024

Challenging Standard Birth Practices: Georgia’s Story

Is childbirth a natural event for moms to direct...or a medical situation for doctors to control? Georgia, a labor and delivery nurse, had the experience to know how she wanted to deliver her own children, but it took a few rounds of advocating before she got it.  Links: Instagram: Facebook:
February 20, 2024

The Twists, Turns & Complexities of Cancer Treatment

A new cancer diagnosis often comes with shock, fear, and then dozens of micro-decisions. They range from “Do I need a second opinion?“ to “Is there something less aggressive we can try first?” And, for some, "This isn't the treatment response we expected, now what?" Some patients weigh in on every decision; others defer to their doctors. At age 42, Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer and weighed in every step of the way. How involved would you be?  Key Takeaway: Weigh in. Weigh in with information. Know the statistics on your specific cancer. Compare data on the risks and benefits of each treatment option, including the option of doing nothing. Weigh in after knowing all the alternatives, including clinical trial alternatives. Weigh in with insight and support from a patient care community. An online community is usually the easiest way to connect with people who share your health condition.  Links:  Clinical Trials: Rebel Health: Instagram: Facebook:  
February 6, 2024

Not Afraid to Ruffle Feathers: Kris’ Story (Part 2)

Each year, 400,000 hospitalized patients experience some type of preventable harm – and this does not include the near misses that don't result in a negative event. In Part 2, Kris kept a close eye on Dave's care even though he was stable, and she didn't hesitate to ruffle some feathers when preventable harm made her lose trust.  Key Takeaway: Keep advocating throughout the entire hospital stay. While doctors, nurses, and hospital staff try really hard to get things right, oversights and mistakes happen. When necessary, escalate. Calmly but persistently ask questions, demand answers and actions. If you ruffle some feathers, it's okay.  Losing trust in the medical care being delivered is stressful for everyone. Take action to get things back on track. Sometimes the only option is to transfer to another hospital.  Links:  Instagram: Facebook:  
January 23, 2024

The Choices I Made Determined My Husbands Survival: Kris’ Story (Part 1)

Do health care "miracles" actually exist? Or, are they the result of quick action and persistent advocacy? Kris and Dave, both 53, were enjoying their favorite TV show when Dave had a sudden cardiac arrest. Kris' choices - in that moment and during the next 2 months – determined Dave's fate.  Key Takeaway: Plan, Do, Act Get CPR certified. Studies consistently show that people who live in communities with higher rates of CPR certification have higher rates of survival after out of hospital cardiac arrest. Complete an Advanced Directive before you ever need one. In fact, everyone over the age of 18 should have one because bad things can unfortunately happen at any age.  Know your loved one's medical history and the medications they're on. It could save their life.  Links:  HospitalCompare: Instagram: Facebook:    
January 9, 2024

Cut the Red Tape: Get X-Ray Results…Now!

The complexity of the healthcare system often results in miscommunication, difficulty obtaining medical records, and delays in care. Kelsey shares her frustrating experience when she had a bout of abdominal pain but finally broke through the bureaucracy to get the surgery she needed.  Key Takeaway: Escalate You have a right to all your medical records including immediate access to your test results. The 21st Century Cures Act requires that patients have immediate electronic availability to nearly all test results, medication lists, and clinical notes. Don't use an urgent care as a substitute for having a primary care physician. While urgent care clinics are great for simple problems like sore throats and urinary tract infections, establishing a relationship with a regular doctor will assure some continuity. Contracts between your health insurer and in-network providers often prohibit the provider from requiring up-front payment.  Links Instagram: Facebook:
December 26, 2023

Jumping Through Passion & Pain: Amanda’s Choice

What would you do if an activity that gives you an incredible amount of joy is also the root cause of your serious injury? How do you explain to your surgeon that you really, REALLY want to get back in the ring and you want him to support you through it? This is the challenge that today's guest was able to navigate. Amanda's story begins with debilitating pain and ends with how she is balancing her health and her passion. Key Takeaway: Be clear about your priorities Select a doctor who is on your team: highly experienced but also be able to hear you and respects your priorities. Get a second opinion if your symptoms are getting progressively worse or if your doctor's level of urgency doesn't match yours or if you simply aren't connecting with your physician. Be accountable to your part of the treatment plan. Recovery is a shared responsibility between a patient and their providers.  Links Instagram: Facebook:
December 12, 2023

When It Comes To Medical Care, Sometimes Less Is More

Advocating for the medical care you want doesn't always translate into getting the medical care you need. This is what Lynn learned (the hard way) when she developed a rash and kept asking her doctor to prescribe medications that would "fix it".  Key Takeaway: Sometimes Less Medical Care Is More Adverse drug events cause approximately 1.3 million emergency department visits each year. (CDC) Over 1/2 are completely avoidable.  Think about whether symptoms are due to a lifestyle change: a new detergent, a different pillow, a switch in your exercise routine.  Ask your doctor how long it'll take for you to start seeing an improvement after starting treatment.  Layering on a 2nd treatment before the 1st one has a chance to work can create clinical confusion. Links:  Instagram: Facebook:
November 28, 2023

1 Patient. 2 Doctors. 2 Different Opinions

Medicine is a science and an art, and this means that doctors can have vastly different recommendations about how to treat a condition. This is the situation Brigid faced when she was admitted with a wildly abnormal heart rhythm. Whose advice did she follow? How did she decide?  Key Takeaway: Know the WHY Record conversations with your doctors, PAs, and nurses practitioners - especially if you are in a situation where you are seeing multiple providers and feeling overwhelmed.  Articulate your priorities. They can be financial, social, physical, cultural, spiritual. Only YOU can do this because priorities are personal. Do your homework when facing a medical decision instead of getting paralyzed by choices. Have your questions ready and demand to know the WHY behind each answer. Links 10-10-10 Rule for Decision-Making was developed by Suzy Welch. Here is a video of Welch explaining this process. Instagram: Facebook:
November 9, 2023

Confront Arrogance

Vicki was really, really sick after her cancer surgery. Her doctor – arrogant and dismissive – wasn't listening to her symptoms. Fear, combined with anger, gave Vicki the courage to stand up to him.  Key Takeaway: Confront arrogance. If anger is the trigger for finding your voice, try to quickly turn that anger into preparing for your medical visits. Know WHY. If your healthcare provider wants to order a test, a procedure or medication, just ask: “What is the diagnosis that you are treating/confirming?”  Doctors can’t read your mind. Speak up at your visit so they know what you are feeling. Links to resources mentioned in the episode: 51% of Americans don’t ask their doctor questions about their health Instagram: Facebook:
November 1, 2023

Doctors Make Mistakes. If You Think Something’s Not Right… .Say Something

A young college student needed contraception. She'd done her research, was sure about her preferences and adamant about what she wanted. Her doctor agreed but almost made a mistake that would have resulted in long-term side effects.  A few years later, she was just as adamant about her pregnancy delivery preferences.  Key Takeaway: See Something…Say Something •  Advocacy starts with knowledge. Ask your doctor 3-5 good questions…and make sure they get answered. •   Always always(!) consider the risk of any procedure or medication. Also consider the risk of NOT doing the procedure or taking the medication. •  If you notice something that may be a mistake…speak up. Links to resources mentioned in the episode Dr. Georgiou’s Book: Healthcare Choices: 5 Steps to Getting the Medical Care You Want and Need Instagram: Facebook:   Mayo Clinic: Cleveland Clinic: WebMD:
October 23, 2023

About Speak Up For Your Health

Advocating for your health is important, but it’s not easy.

In Speak Up For Your Health, Dr. Archelle Georgiou talks with patients about how they overcame feeling intimidated by today’s complex medical system and used their voice to finally get the care they needed.

These personal stories along with Archelle’s practical tips will empower you to have a balanced (non-paternalistic) relationship with your healthcare provider.


Archelle Georgiou, MD

Archelle Georgiou, MD

Physician, author, and health journalist, Dr. Archelle Georgiou has helped thousands of people get better medical care by showing them how to advocate for themselves. In Speak Up For Your Health, Archelle interviews real patients about how they overcame feeling intimidated by today’s complex medical system and used their voice to finally get the care they needed. Listen to a new guest tell their story every 2 weeks.