I try to schedule my doctor’s appointments in batches to alleviate the stress that it puts on my job. In the past three weeks, I have had four appointments, one each with my rheumatologist, vascular surgeon, opthamologist, and neurologist.
Each doctor ran their own set of tests, and each doctor concluded that my current set of interventions is working well, and there are no immediate concerns at this time (flare non-withstanding).
My rheumatologist and vascular surgeon are two of my favorite people in the world. They have both changed my life. My vascular surgeon has saved my foot multiple times now, and he listens to me when I tell him things are going well, and when I tell him I’m having a problem. He is patient, and he works methodically using a data-driven approach to find interventions that work for me, and he makes sure that I understand each intervention that it chooses so that I can advocate for myself and communicate the decisions effectively to all of my other doctors.
My rheumatologist is a wonderful woman who, along with a fellow who has since moved on but was wonderful, has saved my life. She listens to me, and she takes time to explain the intricacies of Behcet’s. She also uses a methodical and data-driven approach, and works to grow my own confidence in my decision making. Many times along this path I have felt overwhelmed and like I do not know how to gauge what is a small and insignificant change in my health and what is a red flag. My rheumatologist has worked with me to create a hierarchy of symptoms that I can easily track and manage.
There are doctor’s in my network that I do not see anymore. There’s one doctor who is no longer allowed to be involved on my case. I’ve gone through my fair share of residents and fellows who asked a dumb question and have been kicked out of my exam room by their attending. One of the things that I have learned along this path is that knowing your doctors is a huge factor in the long-term efficacy of the treatment they prescribe. I whole-heartedly trust my doctors to have my best interests in their treatment plan and to plan their treatments according to my short and long-term goals. I also trust them to help me shape my goals into dreams that are attainable in my current state. I want to be hopeful but realistic.
I am forever grateful and indebted to all of the doctors, nurses, and technicians who have worked on my case. Without them, I would be in a much different place.