Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Your Gastro Doctor and what to know. Do you Advocate for Yourself?

When you go to your Gastro doctor/GI Doc/Ass doctor/ or whatever you call them, do you ask questions about anything and everything regarding your treatment of care? Because you should.

I spoke with a friend that was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease not even a year ago. Doctors had him on Prednisone that was not effective for him. He is now on Remicade and still isn't finding relief for his Crohn's symptoms. To my surprise, my friend really had no knowledge about this potent medication he is receiving and I don't think he was informed much about modifying his lifestyle, especially his diet and the foods he should be avoiding. When I asked my buddy what he eats and if he still drinks alcohol, he pretty much has made ZERO, none, nada changes to his diet!.  This means he still consumes beer, gin and vodka, eats greasy fast food, ect. I was shocked that no one spoke with him about what he eats and drinks and puts into his body. I've learned that if the doctor or nurse doesn't ask, you must tell and you must ask questions pertaining to your disease, treatment and lifestyle changes that would be a benefit to you. It's your life and your body! One little modification could make your disease completely decrease in symptoms and bring you into remission = everyone's goal! 

I tried my best to inform my friend about how he must eliminate anything that he eats and drinks that make his symptoms worse in any way. A diet journal or a notebook is helpful with recording your lifestyle/diet and recording changes that you experience with symptoms of your illness. Obviously unhealthy food and beverages (like alcohol, junk food, fast food, fried foods, sweets ect.) should be completely removed from your diet in the beginning & then reintroduce each one slowly. Our society at this current time, has been informed and has made our country knowledgeable about healthy diet choices and what is considered healthy and unhealthy. We aren't idiots when it comes to knowing what's good & what's not.  Do I choose the the cheese burger or the salad?  Hmmmmm 

Some doctors believe that diet has nothing to do with your intestinal disease. I've had doctors literally tell me that I could eat anything I wanted to. Well people, this is an absolute lie. What goes into our body very much effects how it runs and how you will feel.  

Remember that if you don't ask, sometimes you will not be told. All health care providers are different, don't expect to be told helpful tips or even important information that you should have knowledge about. 
Write down in your journal all your concerns and questions that you have before your next gastro appointment.  Ha, because if your anything like me, you have all these questions in your head and when you get face to face with your doctor, you can't remember any of them.  So make a list & don't forget your list/lose it (this has happened to me too).  Tack that post it to your forehead if it will make you remember to take it to your appointment (dont really use tacks, duct tape will keep it there)
*If you are not sure about a treatment or something that your doctor has recommended for you, do research. It's your responsibility to find out about your disease and treatment options. Trust me, there's a ton of good, easy to understand reputable information out there. The Mayo Clinic website is just one great site for up to date info.
* It's your right as a patient to refuse a certain procedure or treatment that your doctor has recommended if you are not comfortable with it. I am not encouraging people to go against your doctor or to be a skeptic, difficult patient, like me. I am saying that if you do not agree with the doctors' treatment recommendation for you, you have every right to decline and refuse that particular method. 
*Ask for alternative treatment options available. Nowadays with our advancement in technology and the extensive research being conducted, there's usually several treatment options for a condition. You deserve to know what they are so you can make an informed decision and one that you are confident saying "Yes" to.

I almost forgot to mention  The choices you make do matter. It may be difficult to cut certain foods and drinks from your diet, but I will say that everyday will get easier with effort to be healthier.  Our substitute options are great too! You can pretty much get a healthier option of anything at your local market..........
.......................... Sorry, not the gin though!

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