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Patients Have Power

This piece has been entered in the ‘Patients Have Power’ Writing Contest run by Clara Health. This has been designed to raise awareness surrounding clinical trials. This cause is one I’m deeply passionate about and hope my post, and others, will help raise much needed awareness about the power of breakthrough research.

When it comes to ‘trialling’ anything I’m usually first in line. You have a new face cream that will ‘Benjamin Button’ me? First in line; spread that cream all over my pasty visage like Nutella on toast. You have a new flavour of ice cream for me to try? First in line; I’ll lap up that icy treat like a dehydrated pooch. You have a new line for me to stand in? FIRST. IN. LINE.

With that said however, when it comes to my health I tend not to take such bold and extravagant risks.

You see when living with chronic illness life is already a case of trial and error. Our doctors must use their expertise to find the best course of treatment or medication to help us manage our condition. Because every ‘body’ is different, and we all respond to medication in different ways, there is sadly no ‘one fits all’ treatment for an ongoing illness.

This is where clinical trials can step in.

My own experience with clinical trials has been varied and has exacted positive results to varying degrees as far as my symptoms are concerned; but despite this the experience of involving myself has always been a productive one.

Organisations like www.clarahealth.com are a fantastic source of expert and accessible knowledge on current and upcoming trials. They ensure patients are placed in trials that will ideally allow them access to the newest and most up to the minute treatments being developed for their condition, and vitally, ensure patients absolute safety and security at every stage of the process.

As a seasoned patient myself, when entering into any new trial I naturally feel a source of trepidation, but also a simmering excitement that I am in some way involved in potentially ground-breaking new research. In the cases where trials I’ve taken part in have been unsuccessful in managing my own symptoms, I have still exited the trial feeling a sense of satisfaction that I’ve helped in providing valuable data and insight. Even the smallest of involvement in a trial can cause massive ripples. The more clinicians know the more they can do to help us.

In that same vein, movements like Patients Have Power are an incredible resource for patients and health professionals alike. Living day-to-day with chronic illness can be utterly overwhelming. The ‘power’ over our illness, our treatment, our own bodies; is often taken away from us. We literally put our lives in the hands of others. But when we choose to make decisions over our own care, we begin to take back that power. When we volunteer for clinical trials we empower ourselves to learn more about our illness and hopefully step closer towards a viable treatment, or maybe even a cure.

We are more powerful than we often believe.

With that in mind, I’ll continue to get in line when opportunities that could make my life better present themselves. I’ll continue to celebrate my life and take back the power I feel I’ve lost when I’m being poked and prodded by strangers and doctors alike. When I feel invisible and powerless, knowing I have options takes the sting out of my hopelessness. My voice, even when it’s breaking and weak, still has the power to shout louder than ever for quality care. If we all come together and do the same we can achieve anything.

Now can someone get to work on that Benjamin Button face cream?