“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Cathy Reilly’s Story
I share my story as I wish to help others learn to be their own advocate in life and wellness. I believe we are all a gift and bring value and if I can help one person to shift into thinking they have a voice and have the ability be their own advocate (ideally without going in to a hospital), then my journey is worth it.
This story starts and ends in the hospital. In 2010, unbeknownst to me, I had an ectopic pregnancy and my fallopian tube had burst. The pain continued to build throughout the day, but because I was raised with the “don’t be a bother” mindset, I didn’t call anyone for help. (I was telling myself it’s just gas. I got this.) I waited for my husband to get home. By the time we got to the hospital, they rushed me in for emergency surgery.
If one hospital visit wasn’t enough, I ended up having two more surgeries in a four-month time span. One of those surgeries was for a detached retina. (Just so you know, that wasn’t fun.)
The recovery from the eye surgery was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I was heavily medicated for six weeks and couldn’t function. My six-year old daughter was left to bring me food and drink. It gave me a lot of time to think. During my recovery, I realized that while I was doing my best to be a good parent, I wasn’t being a good example on how to live life. The words you say are only a portion of the message you send. I had to be a living example. I had to start taking care of myself so my daughter could learn how to take care of herself.
After leaving the hospital in 2010, I started to focus on my own wellness, inside and out. I became my own advocate. I researched medications and natural solutions, I questioned medical plans for recovery, started to eat better and even removed all toxins from my home. I attended empowerment workshops, hired a coach and started to recite my own self-empowerment mantras.
It was time for me to BE the example for my daughter. To raise a strong, empowered, educated woman, I needed to be a strong, empowered, educated woman.
Fast forward to 2016, my work was put to the test. I was faced with yet another health crisis (because that’s just how I roll.) Blood clots covering both lungs. This time, when I knew something was wrong, I didn’t hesitate to ask for help and headed to the hospital right away. The doctors put me on medications, but because of the research I had done, I knew they would only make my condition worse. This was the time to put my advocacy and empowerment practice into action. I challenged my doctors; I did my own research; I had continuous dialog with all my doctors and made them talk to each other (news flash – that can happen). I forced them to think outside the box (by way of natural solutions). Collectively, we made my recovery a success! I stand here today because I learned to be my own advocate. I stand here today strong in mind, body and spirit.