I still get visited by my scary ghosts of doctors past. I'm not going to say that I regret having gone to any of them because I have learned from all of them one way or another - one lesson or another. If anything, they have helped me to grow up and assert myself better.
I have also had my sister Pam come back to me with stories of how she has used me as an example of when she taught someone else how to stand up for themselves to a doctor; so how could I ever regret the path of doctors I have ended up taking?
If you know anything about Migraines, you know that if you spend just ten minutes researching it on the Internet that you will come across the name Teri Robert. She is a patient advocate, author and manages the MyMigraineConnection website. I mentioned Teri because much of what I have learned, I have learned from her; including standing up for myself. I honestly don't know where I would be if I didn't bump into her, learn what I have about Migraines, how to stand up for myself and become more assertive with doctors which includes firing them when they are not providing me with the level of service I am paying them for and deserve.
In the beginning, I was a true marionette of these doctors. Although I didn't know much about Migraines, it just didn't seem right what they were saying or doing. But who was I? Just little old me. After all they were doctors! My mama taught me well; taught me how to respect others, right? WRONG!!!!!
Do you know what? Doctors don't know everything about Migraines! Did you know that doctors fresh out of medical school can sometimes have only ONE HOUR of training on Migraines? And then neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine specialists either, but there actually are doctors who do specialize in treating Migraine disease. Only if a neurologist chooses a sub-specialty, will they be a neurological specialist. Otherwise, they will be like a general practitioner of general neurological diseases. So if you go to a general neurologist, they may not be a Migraine specialist. Not many neurologists will go on to specialize in Migraines or headaches. Luckily, not everyone needs a true Migraine specialist. Unfortunately, those who need a true specialist may need to drive many, many hours or even fly to a true Migraine specialist, but then they usually find it worth it to go to someone who knows what they are doing.
Let me just straighted some things out. I read a lot about Migraines and have more than a basic understanding of them. I don't understand medications. I never cross that line when I am talking with a doctor. I never try to come across that I know more than I do. I never try to come across as an Internet know it all. I do come across as knowing about my Migraines, my triggers and knowing me. It is very important to understand yourself.
If I don't understand something I will ask the doctor. And yes, I have been known to ask the doctor questions I do know the answers to. I do this for a few reasons. I need to understand their knowledge, to know if they will make up answers, their approach to answering my questions, their willingness to converse with me, my willingness to ask follow up questions, to get clarification on answers I'm unsure about the validity of, how comfortable I am with them, if I can learn additional things on top of something I already know about, how they take my questioning and more. I think you get the idea.
My ultimate goal is to find a doctor I can partner with. I need someone I feel comfortable working with, who feels comfortable working with me, someone I can trust and someone who trusts me. They also need to understand Migraine disease and the over 100 medications which have been used as Migraine preventatives.
Teri taught me enough about Migraines and standing up for myself with doctors that I will find the right doctor and treatment for me. I am not there yet, but I have the confidence that I will get there.