Talk With Your Doctor
Talking to your doctor, especially about your lupus symptoms, is a special kind of communication. With some preparation and a little practice, you can make discussions with your healthcare team the best they can be.
I worry that there’s not enough time to get everything covered at my appointments. But I also know that this time is valuable—so I’m going to use it right!
Take a buddy
Invite a friend or family member to join you at your next appointment. They can help you with important tasks during your appointment. For example, they can take notes so you can be free to talk with your doctor.
Having someone you trust by your side may help ease any nervousness you may be feeling. Plus, they can help you remember important questions or offer another point of view about how lupus is affecting your life.
Want to be extra prepared? Ask your buddy to practice with you. Role-play your conversation with your doctor, especially if you have something sensitive to bring up. Work on being direct and to the point.
Set realistic expectations
What are your goals for your relationship with each of your doctors? Start by looking at your wants versus your needs. When working with a doctor, all you really need is someone who provides you with good care.
But you may want a friendly doctor, one who asks about your family and your job. Others may want a doctor who brings them the latest scientific research. Either can work for a healthy doctor-patient relationship—as can anything in between!
Take a look at your own expectations. You may want to work to find a healthcare provider who aligns with them. Or you may simply accept that your current doctor meets your needs, even if all your wants don’t match.
Try the PART method
To better communicate with your doctor, you may want to think about the PART method:
for your visit ahead of time. Track your symptoms and triggers, record how lupus is affecting your life, and make a list of questions.
Ask any questions you brought with you, along with any others that may come up during your visit. Before you leave, be sure you understand new diagnoses, tests, treatments, and other instructions.
To help you with your understanding, replay the key points of your visit back to your doctor.
Remember that signs and symptomssigns and symptoms: signs of lupus can be seen by others, such as a rash or an abnormal lab result. Symptoms of lupus can be felt by you, but can’t be seen by others, such as headache or fatigue. mean that your lupus is active. Active disease may be causing long-term damage to your organs. Anytime you’re feeling something new (or a flareflare: a sudden increase in disease activity. of something you’ve felt before), take note of it. Even if you aren’t sure it’s related to your lupus, write it down and talk about it with your doctor. Lupus can affect your whole body in ways you may not even recognize.
Remember that both you and your medical team want the same thing: your best health. Knowing that, you can be honest and candid in every conversation, creating a true partnership along the way.
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