Dr Rachel – Patient Advocate, started as a reader!
These days I am called ‘Dr Rachel – patient advocate’.
Recently and in the past my colleagues, friends and family have described me as:
- Empathetic, and
I was always interested in learning, even as a little girl and was very curious. I wanted to understand how things worked, particularly biology and was a ‘book-worm’. Many times, I was told I am good at explaining complex things and making them easy to understand.
Two degrees later: Bachelor of Science in Pathology with First Class Honours and Doctorate in Medicine. My study focussed on pathology, which is the study of what causes dis-ease and ill-health. My formal study took more than 9 years at University here in Australia and in the USA. Since then working in treatment areas for complex diseases has been a passion of mine.
In addition, I have also setup a hospital wing for patients in mental health recovery, worked with people with disabilities in NDIS, and other health related roles. I like helping others. My skills are very diverse, I am unique.
Pathology or ‘dis-ease’
Understanding how to get your health back requires an understanding of ill-health. Ill-health also called “Dis (Latin for Lack of) Ease”, or pathology, is the direct opposite of health. The serious consequences of dis–ease include CANCER, infertility, infectious diseases, obesity, diabetes etc, which you have unfortunately come to find out.
Dr Rachel’s own health – learning to be my own advocate
I also understand what it is like to get a pre-cancer diagnosis myself, the doctors found polyps in my bowel. Once they were found I began the journey to improve my own health. Changing my behaviour for my own health recovery journey, including reducing processed foods meats, alcohol and salt while increasing veggies and I feel much better for it.
In fact, my doctor said when the bowel polyps were found
If you don’t change your lifestyle, you will get bowel cancer!
I have completely changed what I eat, increased my exercise, regularly use stress reducing techniques, such as meditation, all to protect my health, as I have a strong family history of cancer.
In 2017 I shaved my hair to raise funds for the World’s Greatest Shave by the Leukaemia Foundation. I know it somewhat unrealistic, as I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes, unlike chemo patients, but I did raise some important funds for research.
Cancers impact on Dr Rachel’s Family & Friends
Making sure your loved ones are getting the right treatment is so important.
Both of my grandfathers died of cancer, stomach and prostate, and my young cousin died from glioblastoma at 38 after a long 9-year battle with it. Unfortunately, he died and less than 2 months later my Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer, he is thankfully still alive more than 5 years later, due to early detection with BowelScreen. Recently my Mum got diagnosed with breast cancer by BreastScreen. My experience with my family in cancer treatments has been very long and detailed.
I have other family members who are currently battling different types of cancers.
Many of my colleagues and friends have been diagnosed with blood, liver, brain, breast, skin, uterine, stomach, tongue and cervical cancer to list the main culprits. It seems everywhere you go you meet people touched by cancer, there are many types and forms.
Here is a photo I took while visiting a friend undergoing chemo for a brain tumour, we were at Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne, in the Super8 Healthy Food Cafe.
When my Dad was undergoing chemo, in a hospital in country NSW, in his usual joking way, he described the hospital as “packed” and the “place was pumping”!
This hospital was built in June 2016, the car park for 330 patients, was FULL when I visited. This hospital has 96 overnight inpatient beds, 110 chemo day beds and chairs and 42-bed capacity intensive care unit.
There seems to be something really wrong with this picture – too many people have cancer!
My Vision for more cancer thrivers – life after cancer can be good
My dream for a long time is to support people who have a cancer diagnosis and offer support and care to make their journey better. I would really like to see less CANCER and many more cancer thrivers who go on to doing all the things that fulfil them in their life.
You don’t have 10 years to spend at University then another decade to learn these things to improve your health, you need help now. That is why you are here, right? My difficult learning experiences may be of value to you now.
Sometimes time is of the essence.
In the past we thought our genetics can’t be changed – this is now not true due to epigenetics and nutrigenomics, cutting edge new science, which holds great promise for the future.
In the meantime, there are other things you can do to improve your health circumstances. We and our team and your cancer project healthcare team can show you how.
At the start of my own journey over 10 years ago, I was empowered to make changes. I chose which lay opinions to take on board or ignore, and what ‘expert advice’ from my doctors I could apply to my life.
As an empowered person I ask questions and don’t take all opinions at face value – that is what my science and medical training taught me to do. I prefer facts and am trained to look for them. That isn’t to say that I will not consider information and opinions that are given, if they ‘add up’ to me.
Just like me you are the best person to decide for yourself about your own health or ill-health. You know how you feel, you know what hurts and what things you will and won’t try.
The experience of what it is like to have the people I love most – my family and friends diagnosed with cancer has been a series of a hard lessons. This experience and knowledge allow me to help you now.
Using an empowering approach is best as no-one can change the past.
We are all here for a season, a reason or a lifetime, we never know what will happen or where we will end up. However, your journey is your own and it would be great if you could make it as good as possible.
I hope that I can help you take action and feel empowered towards regaining your health, I want to see you well!
Many of the team that helps me understand cancer from the perspective of patients work on our Patient Advisory Board. Have a look at their stories to know that there is a good life after a cancer diagnosis!
Time is of the essence; YOU can make informed decisions regarding elements to include in your health improvement program NOW!
Research has shown the longer people like you are proactive with your own cancer recovery journey, the better health outcomes you can expect to get. The goal is to go on to live a full, happy, long life.
Dr Rachel – patient advocate
We work for you in a tailored personalised way.
Employing Dr Rachel – patient advocate – for you takes a lot of pressure off you to hold complex information in your head, at least until you get your head around what the doctors are saying.
At Health Equals Freedom we aim to EMPOWER you to be in control of your own health. No-one else is better placed to look after YOUR health, but YOU!
Let’s make sense of cancer together,
Because after all your Health Equals Freedom!
Yours in good health,
I am an advocate for evidence-based integrative oncology, to empower you to get the best health result you can.
Dr Rachel – CHO (Chief Health Officer) or (Chief Heart Officer)[Professional Independent Patient Health Advocate, Cancer Recovery Coach, Thought Leader, Trainer, Mentor, Author, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Cousin, Aunty, Great Aunty and Consultant]
Dr Rachel can be booked to talk at your club or organisation as a motivational speaker.