From a doctor's perspective, what is the best way to approach a first appointment with a neurologist. I get confused on what information to give so that they will listen and try to connect the dots of my case. It seems that I have had problems with communicating that I am not looking for a dx of MS but rather want to actively rule everything else out, and have each of my symptoms addressed in a manner that will help me deal with them,
I always want to "tell the story of my symptoms" and they don't seem to be able to sort them out for me?
Any help in this would be so appreciated by most here on this board.
As the central member of the MS Team you have the right and responsibility to take your own health-care "by the horns." As the patient you are the center of the MS Team and we call this M*STAR or Multiple Sclerosis Team Approach Rule.
It sounds like you are actively doing this and you are helping others by posing this question -- this is a great example of the Multiple Sclerosis Patient Network (M*S*P*N).
You are helping others by helping yourself ... congratulations and thank you!
To prepare for the visit remember that you are in partnership with the neurologist -- pay her the same degree of respect you expect in return. Often patients are tired and frustrated by a string of no answers and this comes out in the visit and can endanger the possibility of a healthy and reciprocal relationship.
Most people can't handle more than 3 or 4 things at one time -- this includes your physicians. Therefore you should list the top 3 or 4 symptoms you have that bother you the most and that you would like addressed.
If you do not have a diagnosis and are in the process of being "worked-up" then a typed timeline is an excellent tool to organize your thoughts and to express them to the neurologist.As you prepare this timeline, it will also prepare you mentally for the office visit (just as you would prepare for other professionals, such as a meeting with a lawyer or your car mechanic -- you would focus on what is ailing your car).
A list of tests already performed and their results is very helpful and do not forget to bring your actual MRI (and CT) films with you. A report is never enough and it is your responsibility to have a CD made (or actual films printed) from the imaging center where they were performed. Remember they own the CD but you own the information since it is your body they are scanning. You should never assume that the films were sent by another physician to your new neurologist -- you should bring these with you.
Most importantly, while you can and should express your fears and conceerns to your new neurologist, you should also keep an open mind ... you may be assuming because of what you have heard that you have, while there may be something else going on.
Dear Dr Kantor,
Thank you so much for your response to my question. Your answers were most helpful and I am sure many on this board will benefit from them.
With my upcoming visit to Mayo Clinic, I will put the things I have learned from your post to my use and hopefully will have a good relationship with my neurologist because of your help. I will post again after I return, to share how I went about presenting my case and what the outcome was.
Thank you again for your time on this forum,
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