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Meet Shana Segat of KC Patient Advocacy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shana Segat.

Hi Shana, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I first fell in love with taking care of others when I volunteered at a nursing home when I was 12-years-old. I felt drawn to it, caretaking, as if that was my reason for being here on this planet. I continued with nursing homes, at 15-years-old, I worked in laundry and housekeeping.

When I turned 16, I worked as a dietary assistant. I knew I needed to do more hands on type care. When I was 18, I went to school to be a CNA (certified nursing assistant). Then I went back for more classes to get my HHA (Home Health Assistant) when I was 19. I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I knew that was an occupation I was meant to do. But, as it does, life got in the way. I had a son, the most amazing gift ever. I enjoyed getting to spend years as a stay at home mom. My body began having issues. I started having pain and fatigue every day. I couldn’t understand what was going on. Why did I hurt, why was I tired so much of the time for no reason, or what seemed like no reason? I’d go to doctor after doctor. “Lose weight”, “must be depression, here take these pills”. I didn’t get better. I felt lost. I didn’t give up though. I kept pushing for answers. Finally a diagnosis, actually diagnoses, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Having an answer means a lot. The treatments at that time helped very little. Then I started having problems walking. This pain was in my backside and would shoot down my leg. It was horrible and terrifying. Emergency room after emergency room with no answers, only X-rays, which showed no real issues and prescriptions for pain meds, that actually didn’t help.

So, I kept searching, trying to find answers. I wasn’t going to be stuck in bed, unable to walk, in that amount of pain forever. I just couldn’t do that. Finally, I found a pain doctor who told me I most likely had herniated discs that were the cause of my pain. I got an MRI, that was its own battle with insurance, they sure don’t rush through that approval. I was able to get an epidural steroid injection. I could walk again and the pain was tolerable. I had an injection every few months, I got by. My mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. A lot of balls were dropped when it came to missing her diagnosis for months. By the time she got the diagnosis, it was Stage IV Uterine cancer. We got her to the best specialists but invasive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation just weren’t enough. I did my best to care for her but ultimately the cancer took her life in 2018. I dealt with a lot of guilt after her death, wondering what I missed, could I have gotten her to a better provider sooner, what signs did I miss? I had a hard time dealing with losing her and wondering what if. I was determined that what happened to her wouldn’t happen to others but I needed more information. I knew I always wanted to be a nurse, so I applied for the LPN (Licensed Practical Nursing) program at Johnson County Community College and I got in.

But in the second semester of nursing school, my back pain became worse. I was doing clinicals while dragging my leg behind me. I was determined. I ended up in the emergency room that semester. I was ignored in that ER, treated like a drug-seeking hypochondriac. I demanded an MRI. I didn’t want their drugs. I wanted an answer. An MRI showed the herniated discs were now fragmented. I was admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery with a neurosurgeon the next day. The neurosurgeon later told my family he was shocked I was walking with that material crushing the nerve root. I continued my studies and only had to make up one set of clinicals. I was on a mission. I didn’t just want to be a nurse anymore, I wanted to be an advocate. All of the fighting I had to do to get answers, being dismissed, suffering in pain, what happened to my mother. I can help navigate the system for others, I can amplify their voices. I do just that now.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My whole life felt like one big obstacle course. Pain, fatigue and loss seem to be my biggest struggles. I kept fighting for answers, for treatments. I let grief help lift me up to where I needed to be.

We’ve been impressed with KC Patient Advocacy, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I see myself as a sort of health care GPS. I listen and give directions. Some clients choose to keep me with them the entire journey, going to doctor’s appointments, making phone calls for them, dealing with insurance issues and more. Others stay for only part of the journey, getting referrals to providers that are a better fit for their needs. I hope in the future I can do more. This is just the beginning.

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
When I was 12 years old, I was a cheerleader. It was the end of November on a very chilly day on the football field. By halftime, the rest of the squad left, too cold to stay to cheer. But I stayed, and I kept cheering. It’s a silly memory but I feel like it just defined who I am as a person. Cheering people on when no one else will.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Credit of picture of mother’s memorial at Deanna Rose to photographer Jessica Zink

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2 Comments

  1. Janet Olivas

    July 26, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    You truly are a beautiful person, inside and out. You know I wish you every success. Just wish you were here in Arizona.

  2. Kimberly

    July 27, 2021 at 3:00 am

    Great job, you are amazing.

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