When a Doctor Doesn't Believe You
Last updated: October 2023
It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. You’re at the doctor’s office and you’re explaining what’s bothering you and you’re met with a wall.
Maybe something is off with their tone, maybe they gave you a weird look, maybe they asked you if it’s possible you’re experiencing something else but not what you’re describing, or maybe they’re just blunt and tell you to your face.
Whatever way it happens, it sucks when your doctor won’t believe you.
When the doctor is dismissive
I’ve been pretty fortunate in that this hasn’t happened to me very often in my journey with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Only three times that I can think of, and one of the times it wasn’t even my doctor. It was a surgeon who for some reason didn’t want to give me any sort of pain medicine while they cut my chest open and took the port out of my heart valve. (That can be a story for another day.) But the more I speak to friends and loved ones, the more I keep seeing how common of an occurrence this is.
It’s not on you
I think the majority of the population is honest when speaking to their doctors about what’s bothering them. If you’ve ever had someone write off what you’re saying, it’s not your fault. Unfortunately, it just happens. Don’t feel like you can’t speak up. In fact, do speak up. If something is wrong, you need to make sure someone will listen, even if your doctor won’t.
This brings me to my next point.
Change doctors if you need to
I know this isn’t an option for everyone. If you can’t find someone who will listen to you, perhaps do some research on your own and bring back your findings to your doctor. If they still won’t budge, perhaps speaking to their superiors is the next step.
I know I hate confrontation and would hate doing this myself, but I would hate living with pain, getting even sicker, or something ending up fatal for not acting on it when I knew something was wrong. You know your body best. Like we say here on the site, you are your own best advocate. Make sure you fight for yourself and well being.
It’s okay to talk about it
I think it’s okay to be open about bad experiences you’ve had with doctors. You don’t want to speak badly about them just to speak badly. But just like leaving a review for an Amazon product helps people find what fits them best, we can apply the same logic here.
If you know someone who is looking for a doctor, you would want them to go to someone who will listen and take the best care of them. I think we have this mindset of being so scared to go against medical professionals. We have to remember we are paying them to give us a service.
What isn’t okay, is being treated like what you’re trying to say isn’t important. Sure, it’s possible you’re not accurate. But if you feel like something is wrong, 9 times out of 10 there’s usually something going on. That deserves some sort of recognition and looking into.
Warm wishes, Katelynn
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