We meet a lot of experts when we are sick. We might get diagnosed by a physician or a group of physicians, then see a specialist or two. After that, we may be helped by nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists and others. Further down the road, we might be treated by surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, psychologists and more. We need all of these experts. They are highly trained in their specific jobs and their expertise is remarkably valuable to us.
However, sometimes meeting all of these medical experts and seeing all their diplomas on the wall can leave us feeling like we are “less than”. (Remember that from school? The “less than” sign < and the “greater than” sign >?) Well, sometimes meeting all these folks can make us feel like we have less to offer or that we as patients aren’t as important as those who help us. This is really unfortunate.
You see, every patient is an expert. I mean this in a very real and direct way. We are all experts in ourselves. We are experts in how it feels to get a life-altering diagnosis. We might be experts on what it’s like to tell family members that our lives have just turned on a dime. We are experts on how to wake up in the morning and get on with our day when the concerns of the rest of the world seem remarkably trivial. We might be experts on helping a friend through a tough time, or having empathy when someone is going through a similar experience.
All of these things have value in our lives as well as the lives of others. They don’t give out a PhD in Courage or a Masters in Empathy, but they should. Here’s to your expertise; both the recognized and the unrecognized; the seen and the unseen. You are an expert. You rock.