Sunday, February 3, 2008

Preparing for Your Doctor's Visit

Next week I have an appointment with my rheumatologist. So it's time to prepare.

1. I've already had blood drawn according to the standing order I have to test liver function and overall bloodcounts. While signing in at the Qwest lab, I requested that a copy of the report be sent to me at home. It arrived yesterday and sure enough...I'm still anemic (aargh), but my liver and kidneys are doing well.

One of the drugs I take for RA is methotrexate which is actually a chemotherapy drug, but at a much lower dose than is used for breast cancer. Patients with MS who use one of the interferon drugs must also have routine bloodwork done to test for liver function.

Like any overly organized person, I have an Excel spreadsheet file in which I enter the results from each bloodtest. This way I can easily compare and track any changes over time and discuss them with my doctor.

2. I've collected all my meds and calculated when each prescripton will expire. So now I know which meds I need new scripts for.

3. Since I always prepare a "fact sheet" before each visit, I'll need to do that now. I have created a separate Word file for each doctor's visit dating back to my MS diagnosis. They help me keep on track during the visit and help the doctor to know what's going on now and what I need.

Here's what my "fact sheet" looks like right now.

It really is easy to go prepared for your doctor's visit. Preparing a "fact sheet" also gives you a chance to think about all of your questions in advance, so that you don't forget to discuss something important during your limited time.


  1. Lisa,

    I do the same thing when I go see my doctors and I provide them with an updated medicine regularly. I also keep a list of the medications I take on daily and as need basis along with medications, I am allergic to in my wallet and medicine case.

    I see you take methotrexate; I really liked how I felt when I was on it. It went toxic on me after six months, but after talking with a pharmacist, he asked me if I was taking a folic acid while I was on it and I told him I was not. He said I should have been taking folic acid while on methotrexate.

    I now take all me meds to a pharmacist to make sure one to not conflict with the other.

    I wanted to get back on it once I found out I should have been taking folic acid with methotrexate. My husband has a problem me wanting to take chemo again. I know it is my choice, but I decided to honor his wishes since he does not ask for much.

  2. Nice! I keep a "symptoms journal" also...easier to look back in when I'm asked, "So, did yadda yadda improve or get worse?"

    Linda D. in Seattle

  3. That is so gosh darn smart! I'll usually make A NOTE with the test results, comments, etc., written in, and then I verbalize it to the doctor - how much better to give him/her a copy! I think it would be harder for them to screw you up with a hard copy in the file. Thank you - you are so gosh darn smart! :)