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In today's episode of the Keeping Abreast with Dr. Jenn, I am honored to host Heather Craig Alonge, a dedicated healthcare professional and educator who shares her journey surviving uterine sarcoma, a rare cancer diagnosis that turned her world upside down. Heather's story is not just about battling cancer, but about embodying the role of a self-advocate in navigating the complexities of the healthcare system and managing her treatment. Our discussion unveils the challenges and valuable learnings found in persisting through a serious health crisis and the critical nature of personal advocacy in healthcare.

In this episode you'll:

  • Grasp the importance of healthcare literacy and proactivity in treatment decisions.
  • Delve into the nuances of being your own health advocate when standard medical practices do not align with personal health needs or make logical sense.
  • Explore Heather’s role in educating future healthcare professionals from her experiences, promoting a patient-centered care model.
  • Recognize the power of community support and shared experiences in dealing with chronic illnesses, particularly cancer.

Episode Timeline:
00:06 Introduction and Welcome 
01:45 Guest Introduction: Heather Craig Alonge 
02:38 Heather’s Initial Diagnosis and Emotional Impact 
05:20 Background: Heather's Expertise in Healthcare 
09:34 The Importance of Advocating for Yourself in Healthcare 
13:12 Discrepancies in Medical Advice and Personal Health Choices 
18:27 Heather's Role in Education and Touching Lives 
22:50 The Role of Community and Support Systems 
25:53 Listener Q&A: Coping Mechanisms and Keeping Positive 
31:15 Closing Thoughts and Reflections 
32:00 Farewell to Heather and Closing Remarks 

Heather Craig Alonge holds a PhD in health services and has an extensive background in teaching healthcare research methods to a diverse array of medical professionals. She challenges the traditional narratives around patient care, pushing for a system that listens more attentively to the individuals it aims to serve. Heather’s journey through cancer not only tested her resilience but also galvanized her commitment to teaching and advocating for a more humane and insightful approach to healthcare.

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