Doctors, Nurses, MRI's...Oh My! The Importance of Finding The Right Doctor for You
Let’s face it, when you’re diagnosed with an incurable illness your life is filled with doctor’s appointments and more. You don’t just get to go to your normal primary care physicians, but on top of that you have Neurologists/MS Specialists, MRI appointments, and depending on your reoccurring symptoms the list can go on. This past month was busy for me in that sense. I had my yearly checkup at my lady doctor, my bi-annual appointment with my MS Specialist, where we decided I need my next MRI in April, and today I had a checkup with my primary care physician. Whew, that makes for a busy month! But, all of these appointments reminded me of how blessed I am with great doctors who truly care about my well-being. Today I wanted to touch on how important it is to find the best doctors for you.
Someone who is attentive to my needs
Every 6 months I travel 3 hours from North Texas to Oklahoma City for an appointment with my MS Specialist, Dr. Gabriel Pardo. Some people may think I’m crazy for travelling so far, and even out of state, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dr. Pardo has been with me since my diagnosis at 14 years old. He is the specialist my parents found after my neurologist advised we get a second opinion, and he has always had my health at his best interest. He and even his Physician’s Assistant, Jennifer, are so attentive to me and my needs. Doctors like that these days are hard to find. When it comes to doctors just call me picky. I have dealt with this for over half of my life, so when I find good doctors who treat me with dignity, respect and help me determine what’s best for me then I keep them around. I love my MS specialist and even my primary care physician.
The right fit
Even when it comes to OBGYN’s and things of that sort I try to find people who know about my illness and my medical history so that they can take the best care of me that they can. All of my current doctors have taken the time to study up on me and what’s unique about my body and my disease, and they do everything in their power to help keep me as healthy as possible. I tried to find a good specialist and Neurologist in my area, but after the first few appointments I knew she wasn’t the right fit for me. To them I was just any other patient, and wasn’t treated like I’ve been dealing with MS for the past 13 years of my life. I didn’t feel like what I was telling them about my symptoms was important, and didn’t feel like they cared about me as a patient. I would be in and out of the appointments so fast that I didn’t even feel like they had enough time to pay any attention to me or my needs as a human being. Sometimes when you see a doctor, it’s like you’re just another someone coming in and complaining about symptoms, and when doctors treat you like that, then in my opinion they don’t deserve your business. I’ve thankfully grown up with amazing doctors so my standards were set pretty high. MS is a lifelong disease, so keep in mind that you aren’t just going in for your typical cold; you want someone who will take care of you, someone who will be there for the long-haul.
My best advice
I wanted to give you some of my best advice when it comes to finding the right doctor for you, because when you’re dealing with something like MS it’s important to feel understood and cared for. It’s of utmost importance that they are attentive and take the time to get to know you not just as a patient but as a person who needs guidance and support.
Finding the right doctors and MS specialists for your needs is a big decision. Shop around and do your research. Think about everything you want in a doctor, and don’t be afraid to keep looking if you go to someone that isn’t the right fit. Every patient is different, and some doctors aren’t right for everyone.
Find someone who specializes in MS
As we know, neurology is a huge field, and there are many issues those doctors deal with. Find someone who is up to date on the current research and treatment options for your specific disease. I love going to my specialist, because everyone on their team is knowledgeable when it comes to MS. It’s important to find someone who knows exactly what they are looking at and whether it’s in your best interest to fight the disease aggressively or not. Ultimately, of course, that decision is up to you, but it’s important that your doctor weighs your individual needs and is willing to help you in the way that’s best for you. I love that Dr. Pardo always listens to me, and patiently answers my questions about concerns over treatment options. He also gives me advice on how to help alleviate my symptoms in natural ways as well. You don’t want someone who is going to force certain things down your throat, but someone who takes the time, once again, to find what works best for you.
Find someone who takes the time
It’s best to find a doctor who will take the time to listen to your needs and concerns. Most neurologists these days, you go and wait hours for an appointment and are in and out so quickly you aren’t able to feel any less anxiety about why you went in in the first place. I love knowing that when I go to my specialist every single person there listens. I go in and don’t feel rushed. They diligently take the time to answer my questions and give me their best recommendations. It doesn’t matter if my appointment takes longer than normal, because they are there for ME as their patient, and are so attentive that they make me feel like the most important patient in the world.
It's okay to have the highest standards
Finding a doctor isn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s a pain. However, once you find someone like I described in my tips, then you’ll find going to the doctor isn’t such a pain anymore. I actually look forward to my appointments because I know I’ll be getting the best treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions while you’re doing your research. It’s okay to have the highest standards when choosing the right doctor for you! This is your life we are talking about, and taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for your health! I never doubt that my doctors are giving me the best care, and I always leave my appointments with peace of mind. You and your health are worth that!
Have you ever experienced a "weird" symptom and wondered if others with MS have experienced it too?