Having a doctor's appointment can already be nerve-wracking, but a follow-up appointment, once you have started treatment for an MPN, can be even more stressful. Each appointment might require a series of blood tests and then waiting around in your doctor’s waiting room for
the results to come in. The anticipation of what those test results will reveal can certainly lead to some anxious moments. But take deep, slow breaths and know you've got this! You are prepared and equipped!
Use these tips to maximize your follow-up appointment and make sure you and your doctor get the most out of your time together.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Follow Up Appointment
Arrive on time or even earlier (even if your doctor doesn’t) to allow yourself time to get settled in.
Once in your doctor’s office listen attentively to the review of the results of your latest tests and investigations. Compare it with your last test results. Ask questions about how the treatment is progressing.
Have your list of questions ready and prioritize the concerns you want to address. Always begin with the most important question first. Be sure to make the best use of this time and stick to the point.
Bring your list of medications. Include all the necessary information about when and how often you take the medicine and the dosage of the medicine. You should also make sure to include any vitamins or supplements you take.
Don’t be afraid to bring up any pain, symptom, or side effect you might be experiencing, especially if you have just started any MPN-related medication. Let your doctor know how you have been feeling and what has happened since your last visit. Mention any changes at all in your appetite, weight, sleep, or energy level.
If possible, bring a friend, family member, or partner to your appointment. Your companion can act as your second set of ears and can help you remember what the doctor said.
If your doctor rattles off too many things and overwhelms you with information, you can ask what the bottom line is and repeat back what you understand. This gives you time to absorb it all. Do not interrupt your doctor, but do remember to speak up when you want any clarification.
Questions to Ask & Things To Do
Are there any new goals that need to be met?
Do you need a renewal of any medications?
When does the doctor want to see you again?
Schedule your next appointment.
What would you add to this list? What helps you get the most out of your follow up appointments?