How to Handle the Long Journey of Your Diagnosis Experience
One of the most frustrating experiences is going to see a physician about symptoms you’re having and being told there’s nothing wrong. Even worse is when you go to another physician who relies on the previous physician’s notes to make a diagnosis. Unfortunately, this story is all too common in the healthcare community.
But there are ways to combat this type of treatment.
The first step, when you feel your symptoms are being dismissed, is to get a second opinion. In this visit you want to make sure that a full work-up is done. This physician should do their own testing and bloodwork, not depend on a previous colleague’s test results. This saves you time and helps to possibly catch any other issues.
Next, it’s important to make sure you’re seeing the right medical professional. I learned that seeing my primary care physician wasn’t what I needed. An internist would have been more appropriate for dealing with the complexity of my case, which ended up involving a pituitary tumor.
My PCP dealt mainly with family care, with a focus on common illnesses and health issues. An internist would have looked at more than treating the symptom and would’ve focused on why the symptoms occurred to begin with. Based on my own experiences and the understanding I have now, this can sometimes be the difference not only in time, but also in life and death.
Finally, communicate clearly. Be assertive, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. This is your life — or if you’re a caregiver, the life of someone you care about. Don’t be passive. Doctors see all types of patients and may have the mindset that “I’ve seen this before,” especially if they’ve treated patients with hypochondria, an illness anxiety disorder.
Acknowledge to your doctor that you understand they see patients claiming to be sick all the time, but be adamant that something is wrong. Go to reputable sites to find information about your symptoms, and keep a log of them, noting when they started and when the severity increases.
Please keep in mind that getting a correct diagnosis can take some time, but that doesn’t mean you should give up because everyone you see is telling you nothing is wrong. Listen to your body and advocate for yourself. No one will fight harder than you.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.