Questions to ask rheumatologist--HELP!!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by lgp, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. lgp

    lgp Well-Known Member

    After extensive tests to rule out other illnesses, my internist has referred me to a rheumatologist. The internist is reasonably certain of a fibro/CFS diagnosis. I have just emerged from a rough two month flare and I would like to know from everyone some of the questions I should be asking the rheumatologist. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    [This Message was Edited on 12/16/2006]
  2. Suzan

    Suzan New Member

    I, too, was sent to a rheumy after about a year of working with my GP...I really think that he just wanted to cover his backside because he had me taking vicden for the pain..after trying several other things like amitriptaline and ultram. Well, $400, and a 90 minuted exam where the Doc was in and out of the room several times...He basically said...I agree you have Fibromyalgia..and there is nothing I can do for you. I , too, would have you take the vicoden for the pain. And I don't like the the tricyclics because they mess up your sleep patterns more than they help. My patients with Fibromyalgia that get better do it on their own..with no help from me.
    The second down fall of that rheumy came on my next visit with my GP...I thought all was well...Turned out that in the notes to the GP, the rheumy said I should go and be treated by a Psychiatrist! I WAS SHOCKED! as that was never mentioned to me.
    LUCKILY, my GP had been treating me for a few years..and agreed with me that I did not seem depressed..or overly anxious and that counselling wasn't needed..YIKES! What did that rheumy hear during the course of our conversation to have that be one of his recommendations???or did he recommend that to all FMS patients because he really believes it is all in our heads????Who knows!

    Well.. I realize this is only one man's diagnosis and opinion...but he sure didn't HELP me one bit!
    I have seen a couple doctors since my intitial diagnosis, and am now working with a GP that really seems to care..and is willing to work with me to obtain the best quality of life we can for me. On the other hand...I have only seen him twice so far...and I have had doctors that I have seen mulitple times...seem to "get tired of me" as a patient..and at that point , because they can't make be better with just one prescription or one operation...become short with my appointments..and short with any answers they give me about any symptom I am presenting with at that visit!

    So...as for questions to ask a rheumy...I am not so sure there are "right" questions. My best advice is to keep a pain chart /med chart for at least a week...longer if you have the time...and have a written list of symptoms that you have, and also write about what you have taken and done so far to treat your symptoms. You can give a copy to the doctor..but make sure you keep one as well, I have found that way to often..the doctors notes are not acurately kept about what the conversation was in the appointment. I wouldn't hesitate to ask for a copy of the doctors notes from this appointment as well...Even if there is a cost involved...You will want to know what is written about you!

    Good luck, I hope you have a better experience than mine!
  3. lgp

    lgp Well-Known Member

    All of your points are well taken..I have diligently logged my symptoms, when they seem to occur, what seems to flare me up, etc. so I have that taken care of. I have confidence in the rheumy I am going to see since he has come so highly recommended by friends with lupus and fibro and all of my doctors--that he is a compassionate person as well as a recognized leader in his field. His patients actually fly in to see him!!

    Overall, I have been lucky so far--I haven't been brushed off by my internist, ENT, hematologist, endo....they have all recognized my symptoms and my internist wants to be included into my appointment with the rheumy, so I feel okay about them so far. My internist, especially, she has been as frustrated as I am regarding my symptoms and she really wants a diagnosis for me.

    I think what I am going to do is sit down the day before my appointment, go over my notes and my medical file that I keep for my own purposes, note any new symptoms and try to encapsulate it into a concise statement that I can present to him.

    Keep the ideas coming anyway and, if you can think of anything else, let me know.