Making the Most of Doctor Visits
Because CML is a chronic disease, doctor visits are an important and regular part of managing the disease. It’s vital to make the most of these visits so you get the information you need and leave feeling confident you can act on the doctor’s recommendations.
Here are some tips to make the most of every doctor visit:
- Keep a complete list of any vitamins or other supplements you are taking, as well as a list of any other prescription medicines prescribed by your general practitioner or any other doctor. Bring this list with you to every appointment and bring to your doctor’s attention any changes made since your last visit.
- Wherever you are, if you think of something you want to ask your doctor, write it down. At home, record these notes by hand or on your computer under the title “Questions for my doctor”. Before your doctor’s appointment, print it out if it’s on your computer and review it before bringing it with you to the appointment.
- Along with the questions for your doctor, keep a record of how you have been feeling generally and especially of any side effects you have had. Please refer to Treatment options for lists of side effects. Your doctor will have an accurate record of how you’ve been feeling and will be able to make the appropriate adjustments to your treatment.
- If your first language isn’t the same as your doctor’s, consider inviting someone along who will be in a position to interpret or translate if necessary.
For the visit
- Bring with you your list of vitamins and medicines you are taking, as well as the list of questions you have (see above).
- In a short and often stressful visit with your doctor, it’s very hard to keep track of and absorb everything that might be said if you’re on your own. To make sure you get everything the doctor says, ask a friend or family member to come with you and take notes, or even to help you answer some questions. They can also write down any new instructions from the doctor.
- Don’t leave the doctor’s office until you are clear about what has been said and what you are supposed to do. It’s far better to ask for something to be repeated than to do the wrong thing or not know what you are supposed to do. Also, asking the doctor to repeat something right then takes less time for him or her than if you have to phone back later. So speak up – it’s your body!
After the visit
- If you’ve had to visit the doctor alone, take time immediately after your consultation to record everything you remember and to clarify any instructions. If you do this while still in the doctor’s office, you can ask to have things clarified if you discover you’re still unclear on certain points.
- If you’ve had a friend go with you, take time to review all the notes from the meeting and to discuss what the doctor said. If you have any doubts about the instructions, call or email your doctor for clarification.
- Note the dates of future appointments or tests in your calendar. Continue to track your progress between visits.