Good morning everyone. Happy day two of RA Blog Week. I hope you’re checking out all the other bloggers who are sharing their stories this week. And I hope you’re learning some new things. I know I am.
Today’s topic is “Active versus reactive patients.” I think everyone starts out as a reactive patient. You put your faith in your doctor and just do what he or she tells you. I know I did. I just sort of floated along in a bubble of blissful ignorance for a long time. I was lucky to have a good doctor for the first 15 years of my arthritis journey. He took great care of me and I trusted him completely. However, when he retired I was left in the lurch.
I found a new doctor with ease and right away I realized that she wasn’t the same sort of doctor that I was used to. She didn’t listen well, often talking over me or dismissing what I was saying. She was also very quick to go right to medication or surgery for an issue rather than trying more gentle treatments first. I just tried to roll with it as best I could until I had to go get some labs done. When I got the paperwork from her office to take to the lab I noticed something. She’d completely diagnosed me with Psoriatic Arthritis. She hadn’t told me nor had I ever had any Psoriatic Arthritis symptoms. At my next appointment I pointed it out and was blown off.
I was done with her after that. Her complete dismissal of me pointing out that she’d given me an incorrect diagnosis was the last straw. I was no longer a passive patient trusting in my doctor to take the lead. I stepped up and took charge of my treatment from that moment on.
Needless to say, she and I butted heads once I stepped up. I moved on to another doctor not long afterwards. My new doctor is my partner in my treatment. He listens and respects me. Together we manage my illness. I’ve never been doing as well as I am today and I know that it is because I now take an active role in my treatment.
I hope that, if you’re still trusting your doctor to lead the way, you’ll start to change that. Educate yourself not only on your illness but on the wide range of treatments – both traditional and nontraditional. Don’t settle for getting by. Work with your doctor to find a the right balance for you. As patients, we bring something to the table that most of our doctors don’t. We’re on the inside of RA. We can teach them things they can’t learn from books. We you work with your doctor, your treatment experience will totally change. Trust me.
PS. I have a book coming out! (Yay!) Restoration Road will be released in October. If you want to know more about it, click here. And keep watching my blog for more information on when and where you can get your own copy.