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How do you make sure you are heard by your doctor?

Living with blood cancer can be challenging, and effective communication with your healthcare team is crucial to receiving the best care possible. Whether you have questions about treatment options, managing side effects, or simply want to improve your doctor-patient relationship, this forum is the place to seek advice and connect with others who understand your journey.

Share your tips and experiences on how to effectively communicate with your healthcare team when dealing with blood cancer. Do you have a specific method for preparing questions before appointments, or a strategy for clarifying complex medical information? What has worked for you in making sure your concerns are addressed and your voice is heard by your doctor? Your insights could help fellow blood cancer patients navigate their own healthcare journeys.

  1. What helped me when I first started seeing a CML specialist was that I told him about my experiences with my previous primary doctor. He could see how jaded I was about doctors and took steps to gain my trust. For example, at a subsequent appointment, he would always mention something I said or did during the previous visit. (I caught on after a couple of times he was trying to show me he listens).


    He would also always ask me if I had any questions before leaving the room. We communicate a lot by email and 95 percent of the time he answers my questions right away. Inevitably says, "thank you for emailing me" and I reply, "thank you for answering."


    As for specific questions, sometimes I do write them down for visits so I don't forget but mostly I just want to know what a high or low means on blood work, what it is from, and what is to be done about it.


    It's 9 years now, so things are a little different. Before he leaves the room, he still asks me if I have more questions. Not all doctors are going to be like this so I suggest at the start you establish with the person that you would appreciate it if he is responsive to your concerns and you have to work as a team.


    Blood cancer is difficult enough without not having a doctor who has your back. Sorry for the length.


    Susan

    1. absolutely no apology needed. Excellent article! As always very helpful!

  2. This might seem nerdy, but I often write my questions down before my appointment. It is a short list that I frequently use a post-it note. My oncologist is always nice about addressing my concerns.

    1. if that is nerdy, consider me a nerd too! I'm sure it feels good to get your concerns addressed. Thanks for sharing!

    2. I do the same thing! I think it makes us awesomely efficient!

  3. A trick I learned a few years ago when dealing with MD's offering a complex or technical situation was to simply say to a doctor -" Excuse me to be sure I am understanding what you just said let me explain back to you what i thought i heard you say." Works like a charm Dennis (Blood-Cancer.com TEAM)

    1. In this new world of Mychart and getting the results before actually seeing the doctor...I review and flag items I need the doctor to explain further. The conversation then continues steadily from there.

      1. that's a very good tip! I love MyChart!!!

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