For years I went untreated. As a kid, my parents did not know to question doctors or to speak up when something did not seem right. They were from the old patient generation where you just did what the doctor told you. Times have changed and patients are in more control of their healthcare than ever before. With technology that has evolved all around us from mobile apps to websites that allow you to keep track of records and schedule appointments etc. Now that I am an adult and in control of my health here are some things I find useful. You have to be your own advocate! When I say that this is what I mean: Ask questions! Tell the doctor what is going on with you, ask questions on why these things might be going on. Ask for tests that you may think might provide answers. Ask the doctor help you to figure things out. Tell the doctor your fears. Now all this means nothing if you don’t have the right kind of doctor that is not willing to give you another thought. You will have to do the leg work and find a doctor that cares about you. I went several years being afraid of GI’s after the first one, Dr. Paul Bergreen disregarded me. He chalked all my problems that I have had since I was 8 to IBS and did not bother to look any farther. After he treated me like a stupid girl that only had symptoms in her head, I just dealt with the symptoms. There were times throughout the years where I thought there was a chance I might die at home if things got bad enough, but it was more scary to walk into an ER. So the lesson here is fight for the right to be taken seriously!
Here is my List of what to do:
1. Track all your symptoms
2. Keep a binder of all your lab and medical records so you can take to doctors appointments
3. Stick up for yourself, dont back down, be heard!
4. Find a doctor that is willing to do the work with you
5. Listen to your body
6. Do whatever you can to keep the peace within your body, eat well, rest well etc. (dont give your body a reason to fire back)
7. Dont let one bad doctor keep you from being treated
8. Look doctors up on the board of medical examiners website. Also google your doctors and see if there is any “dirt” on them!
9. Dont be a pill popper. Consider all medications, their interactions etc. Keep track of what you take, when and why.
10. Be your own Advocate! Dont give up. It took me 23 years to get answers and I almost gave up and had I done that I might have died.