24 Jan 2013

Fibromyalgia series : Finding a good doctor

This week's post is about, how to find a good doctor and what to expect from appointments.

As horrible as it is to face is the fact that not every doctor believes that Fibromyalgia is a real illness, some believe that it is a 'wastebasket diagnosis' - a sort of rubbish bin where people who they consider hypochondriacs who complain a lot are thrown and given the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia just to shut them up.

Luckily for us Fibromyalgia is becoming a more recognised medical condition, there is there are a lot more supportive believing doctors than there was a few years ago, but there are still some out there who can be horrible, so be prepared.

Finding the right doctor:

The average patient see's three to four different doctors before even getting on the right track for the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.
  If your Doctor does not believe in Fibromyalgia make an appointment with a different doctor and if need be move on to another surgery, you need to find a good doctor with a track record of caring and supporting their patients. This may seem a bit harsh but the truth is the road to recovery is not an easy one, you need to be able to partner up with your doctor during the journey to good health and management. 
  • Ask your friends what doctors they see, if they sound like they take time with their patients, they listen, understand and are open-minded you've probably find a good doctor and see about registering with their surgery.
  • If you are in the UK, FMUK have lists of support groups around the country where you could talk to people in your area and see which doctors they recommend.
  • You could also find Fibromyalgia support websites and forums in your country/area and reach out to people that way to see which doctor's they have found are good and that believe in Fibromyalgia.
You don't need to waste the little energy you have on people who do not believe your sickness and pain, even if they do have 'Dr' before their name or not. save your energy and strength for getting better.

Your Doctor's appointment:
  • The first thing is to prepare yourself, make a list of all your symptoms from the  most concerning to even the smallest thing, remember that everything is important to tell the doctor. 
  • Try not be nervous or discouraged just because another doctor didn't believe you. Not every doctor is the same, some are very open-minded and will think outside the box. 
  • Doctors are there to help you, they should listen to you, and be interested in how long you have had them, it is important to take your time and list all your symptoms, and anything you are concerned about.
  • Doctors should permit and encourage family/friends/partners to come with you to appointments as there may be something they have noticed about you that you hadn't noticed and they can be there to back you up and support you.
  • If you are sure you have Fibromyalgia, take some information with you , although they are doctors they may not be aware of Fibromyalgia and they should be eager to read and to look into treating you with things that they may have not considered.
  • If you have not had recent blood work done your doctor should order them, since there are a lot of things that the doctor needs to rule out since Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of elimination and there is not a test for it. I will touch on what blood work you can have done, more in next week's post.
I hope that this post has been useful for you, and that your journey to find a good, understanding doctor is an easy one, just remember to not give up hope. 

Make sure to look out for the next post on getting a diagnosis next Thursday!

Thank you for reading
Take Care 

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