Friday, July 15, 2011

What You Don't Know Can Hurt You...

Wednesday, I came across an article in "Arthritis Today" (a magazine I never thought I'd read.) The article provided a  timeline of treatment for newly diagnosed autoimmune arthritis patients. Reading the timeline, I began to reflect on my various doctors visits: to sum up the long conversation I had with myself...I didn't receive the treatment/medication required for RA patients.

I was a little upset as I thought about this: for sixteen months I made my way to the doctors office, becoming BFF's with the staff and nurses as they checked my vitals, getting all these test performed and prescribed this anti-malaria drug and Vitamin D for, what?! Why didn't I get this x-ray? How come this test wasn't performed? Did the doctor check for that?! I thought about it a little more and got frustrated with myself: Did I ask for these test/labs!?  No.

I didn't know anything about complex life of autoimmune disease; there is a lot of research and documentation, and a ton of personal accountability. I have said this before, doctors are a great resource and I've had a nice primary doctor and rheumatologist so far; apparently, I have been too nice to the doctors-not asking the tough questions or requesting more information. 

That article reminded me why I started talking about my experience with RA; too many times we take the doctor at their word, accepting things 'as is', too many times we get caught up in the world around us, too many times we allow pride (or shame) get in the way of our well being. We have to make time to keep a health dairy, research our symptoms and have an open relationship with our (sometimes) multiple doctors and specialist. If we don't speak up for ourselves, who will?!

This information will be very useful as I prepare for my next doctors appointment and I hope it helps with yours! Watch out, rheumys...we are preparing for you!

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