Chronic Illness Help: What to Take With You to Doctor Appointments by Samantha Bowick

Chronic Illness Help: What to Take With You to Doctor Appointments

When getting diagnosed with any type of illness, it can be overwhelming. I personally have experience with endometriosis for myself, and a few family members have chronic illnesses that I try to help with. It can be beneficial to know what to take with you to a doctor appointment to have the most effective appointment possible. Some things I recommend anyone take with them to a doctor appointment are:

  • A list of illnesses that you have been diagnosed with and when you were diagnosed (ex. endometriosis 2010, polycystic ovary syndrome, osteoporosis 2015, etc.).
  • A list of treatments you have tried/are trying for those illnesses (ex. Lupron 2011, Cymbalta 2012, Percocet 2018, etc.).
  •  A list of procedures you have had done (colonoscopy 2016, CT scan 2018, endoscopic ultrasound 2019, etc.).
  • A list of surgeries you have had, if any, and when (ex. laparoscopic surgery 2010, complete hysterectomy 2014, lithotripsy 2019, etc.).
  • A list of the types of doctors you see (ex. gynecologist, urologist, endocrinologist, pulmonologist, etc.).
  • A list of questions for each doctor. These questions may be different depending on what type of doctor you are seeing (ex. What are my treatment options? What can cause...?).
  • Any surgery reports, notes, etc., that you have from other doctors (you can choose to have your records send over from other doctor offices).

Taking this list for your doctor can help them see what you have tried for your illnesses and make sure they don’t duplicate anything. It can also be helpful for you if you have anxiety with doctor appointments. It’s easy to forget what you need to ask your doctor in the moment (I’ve been there and kicked myself later for forgetting). The more specific you can get with your questions/lists, the smoother your appointment should run.

In my books Living with Endometriosis: The Complete Guide to Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatment Options and Living With Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (set to publish by Hatherleigh Press, August 2019), you can find more detailed lists of questions I have taken to ask doctors. It’s important that you trust your doctor and feel satisfied with what you and your doctor discuss. 

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Elisa Schmitz
This is really great advice, Samantha Bowick . I can't recall how many times I have had to search for this info when in an appointment. Having it with you and prepped in advance is genius!

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