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Passion at work: can we do it?

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

From my point of view, we cannot, we should. After all, it is what moves us, what should make us want to wake up every morning and go to the office.

By now, you know which passion I'm referring to, right? The philosopher once said: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a single day in your life”.

They say that when I talk about what I do, my eyes light up. I'm happy to hear that wherever I go, because I chose to research and work with something that ended up becoming a purpose in my life: qualifying patients to have more voice in decision-makings regarding their own health.

And this happened not only because of what I learned from Lukács, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Paulo Freire... Not just as a matter of ethics or because social participation is a principle and guideline of the Brazilian public health system.

Another quote I read the other day was: “ You don't choose your passions. Your passions choose you.” And what makes me go deeper and deeper into this matter is passion. The same passion of those who suffered, of those who felt everything in their own skin.

It was because I needed the medicine and I didn't have access to it. I suffered from not being adequately informed by the doctor. I felt helpless, and I saw unpreparedness from the health team. I was treated as inferior by a doctor for being "just" a patient (and when I identified myself as a health professional, I noticed the change in how they treated me).

I was 28 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two months earlier I had defended my master's thesis, in which I advocated for a greater patient inclusion in healthcare decisions. In addition, I was part of the group that prepared the Guidelines for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer in Brazil. Coincidence? Nothing happens by chance.

It was like the ground opened under my feet, because even though I knew a little about this disease, I was so afraid and insecure about the future. Inspired by other women, I shared my story in a blog since the beginning, with family, friends, and other almost 10.000 people who went or were going through the same struggle.

Currently, I continue to support patients encouraging empowerment and involvement with their health and decision-making processes. I encourage dialogue and collaboration between with all stakeholders so we can learn from each other.

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