Your Summer Chapter

Preparing for Doctor Appointments

Jul 13, 2022


Ooops, I did it AGAIN!

OH NO!  I forgot to ask my Oncologist during my appointment today about the pain in my joints that seems to be getting worse ... "Could it be related to my chemo treatments or is it more possibly a result of the new hormone blockers?"  (sigh)...

Has this ever happened to you?  You go to your doctor's appointment and feel ready to ask a few questions.  But then once they begin answering the first question, your focus so easily shifts, you forget your next question and you even feel rushed to 'finish up'.  Only to then leave and realize you didn't ask that other question at all?!  It is frustrating that some of our concerns then remain looming until our next appointment or consume more time and energy to follow up with the nurse practitioner.


The Solution and Wins

These cancer treatments are a lot!  I wanted to feel prepared for my visits with my medical team.  To me, this meant keeping track of my questions/concerns in between treatments.  So, I created the Doctor Appointment Prep form.  I leave a copy of this form on the counter in my kitchen so as my questions come to mind - I jot them down and bring it to my appointment to make sure I cover everything and to essentially help guide the conversation.

4 important benefits that surprised me from using the Doctor Appointment Prep form:

  1. Writing it Down.  It is helpful to me to get everything down live, in the moment, or I will forget by the time I get home.  
  2. Processing. When I am writing down the answers the doctor is giving me for each question, it influences the pace... we are now going at MY pace. This gives me space to absorb what is being said.  It even helps me think of clarifying questions.
  3. Asking. It is okay if I didn't go to medical school or understand the terminology thrown out in the conversation.  I am not the doctor.  So I pause and ask clarifying questions until the answer provided makes sense to ME.
  4. Repeating it back in my own words.  When I repeat back, in my own words, what I thought I heard, it ensures a better understanding.  For me, it was starting with something along these lines...
    1. "So, what you are saying is...( ).  Is that accurate?"
    2. or "My understanding of that is ( ). Is that correct?

Experiment and find what works best for you in your next appointment!  If you are interested in the Doctor Appointment Prep Form, it is available as part of the LoveME Healing Journey set of Companions and Tools. 

Learn more about the LoveME Healing here.