Before You Can Really Get Help, Learn About Yourself

Exactly ten years ago today, I got a call from my doctor to confirm that my test results were positive for sarcoidosis. The day before, I came out of the hospital after a three day stay for an open lung biopsy, the test to determine if sarcoidosis was indeed active in my lungs. To date, it is the most painful surgery I ever had, and it is an experience I never wish to go through or wish upon anyone else.

My doctor wanted me to start on prednisone immediately, but I have always been one never to follow rules and question everything, and it is that trait I credit as one of the reasons I am still alive today.

I never blindly do what any doctor suggests. They are humans, and quite fallible. The particular doctor that wanted me to go on prednisone is still my primary doctor today, and honestly, I think that he is the best doctor in the world, but I still question him, and he likes that.

In my years of writing this blog, the one piece of advise that I think keeps resonating besides a positive attitude, is always, always question your doctor. Don’t confront him, that is something totally different that most people can’t seem to differentiate. Question your doctor for more info. Become a knowledgable patient. Learn everything you can about your condition, but don’t get cocky. You lose a doctor’s respect when you become cocky, and they are only humans with emotions, and they just won’t have a vested interest in your recovery because you are a “know it all”.

Become an expert on you. Learn to listen to your body and understand what is going on with you. Keep copious notes about yourself, your symptoms, your treatments. Have dates and times. If you have a smart phone, utilize it for something more than checking FaceBook. Make notes of each doctor’s visit with dates. Make quick notes about what was discussed, what medications were added and taken away. And before you go into your next appointment, look over your notes because remember, despite what you think, you are not the doctor’s only patient. He is seeing a lot of people before you. A lot. So don’t expect them to remember everything. And they don’t have much time to look over your file between you and their last patient. You know the quote “God helps those that help themselves”? Well, help yourself by helping your doctor and know what is going on with you.

I have a great memory for dates, so when I go into any doctor’s appointment, especially with a new doctor, I recall dates for every procedure that I had. I know all the medical jargon for every condition I have and had, I speak to them in their language so they don’t have to translate to simple english for me. I know every medication that I am on, and those that I was taken off of, and why, and when. And when I tell you that this impresses doctors, it is not that I do it to be impressive, but for their respect. I learned over the years that when a doctor does not have to work hard at his job, it becomes a pleasure. When he sees that you have a vested interest in yourself, and not in a cocky and obnoxious way, he will want to help. You make an impression and he remembers you.

Not only because I have a combination of conditions that doctors rarely see together that they remember me, but it is because I am knowledgeable in me. I know me. I know when I feel stuff and make a note of it mentally or physically in my phone. I listen to my body. I understand it and love it. And it is only when you learn to listen to your body, learn to respect and appreciate it, even in its “broken” state that you can ever begin to hope to heal. No doctor can ever heal you. Only you can do that, and you can only begin to that by learning about you.

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