July, 2024
July 2024
Samantha Siegel: If you see something, say something – Advocacy in Cancer Survivorship
Jul 6, 2024, 02:45

Samantha Siegel: If you see something, say something – Advocacy in Cancer Survivorship

Samantha Siegel, Physician at The Permanente Medical Group, Inc, shared on LinkedIn:

“If you see something, say something: Advocacy in Cancer Survivorship

While awaiting a flight home this past week, I noticed an abandoned bag in the security line at the airport. This large, stuffed, duffel bag sat at the front of the line for at least 5 minutes! Nobody else seemed to notice or care.

I flagged down two agents, trying to get attention and evaluation of this unattended luggage and struck out both times. It ultimately took three attempts before I found someone to take action. I felt like I might be overreacting, but I couldn’t let go of the nagging feeling that perhaps I wasn’t. I could not rest until someone checked it out.

Cancer treatment felt like this. I noticed all sorts of things that didn’t seem ‘quite right.’ At first, I didn’t know where to go or whom to tell about these observations. I felt powerless to effect meaningful change.

Then, I started speaking up and sharing my story. I listened to so many others. Every conversation shed light on a new detail about this challenging process. I found my voice. I began weaving together and amplifying the stories from our cancer community and then I started getting attention for these observations.

I never imagined that my personal life and medical career would unfold in this way. In my life before cancer (BC) I preferred to fly under the radar. Public speaking frightened me. Now, I see my health and my life as an opportunity: a reflection of the stories I’ve heard and the relationships I’ve built in this community. I feel responsibility and great privilege having survived this ordeal and now I’m advocating for change and progress in cancer care.

Fortunately, the bag checked out OK and no imminent threat was identified. I’m still glad that I spoke up.

There are no dumb questions or ideas in cancer care. Your unique observations might improve your own experience or a loved one’s. You might notice something that could impact this process for generations to come. You might even save a life.

As David Goggins says: ‘Your story is your power, own it!’ ”

Source: Samantha Siegel/LinkedIn