****Guest post by Kendra Fletcher. Kendra does not have EDS or HSD, but her story and information about preparing for her doctor’s appointment are helpful for anyone who is living with a chronic illness, or who is struggling with an undiagnosed health condition.***
“YOU are a major contributor to your healthcare team.
One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t give up all of your power to doctors, professionals, experts, etc.
Yes, you should seek their advice.
Yes, they are experienced and knowledgeable.
Yes, they add value and have expertise.
However, if you’re feeling that something is “off” or “not right”, TRUST your instincts. You have to be your own advocate. You have to push for answers. You are an important part of the team.
Don’t just accept what someone says because they have a degree or letters behind their name. Your best resource is YOU. And no one else has your intuition and internal guidance.
I’ve been having some health issues the past few years with fatigue, weight gain, etc. Something has been off.
A few months ago, I decided to look back at me medical records from 2015. In my lab results, I found an abnormal result in my tests that can be an indicator of autoimmune disease and which requires additional testing.
My doctor had told me at the time that all my results were “normal” (but this one result was not). I don’t blame her as I know it she must’ve accidentally missed it when reviewing all of the lab results.
We’re all human. But it goes to show that we need to ask questions and advocate for ourselves.
So the past few months, I’ve been DIGGING around through the research. I ordered my own lab tests online at Ulta Lab Tests. I’ve been reading up on what I think I may have and trying some nutrition protocols. I’ve been monitoring my symptoms. I’ve met with doctors and made appointments with specialists with long waiting lists.
Today is another doctor’s appointment. I spent 2 hours this morning making sure all of my documentation is organized. I typed up two pages of information and questions for my doctor. I made tables showing how my lab results have changed over the years (because I was in a different medical system). I have compiled all of my past medical records here in this notebook.
A lot of health issues are like a huge puzzle with thousands of pieces. You can’t just rely on your doctors to put it together. You have to contribute too. You have to help find the pieces, gather the pieces, and provide information. Hopefully in working together, you start to see the bigger picture and can understand what’s going on.
I share this because I know that so many conditions take years, if not decades to diagnose. If you’re looking for answers, don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you it’s all in your head. Keep moving forward until you feel you’re getting the pieces pulled together and you find the right doctors to help you.”
How Kendra organized her binder:
- Put tabs in it for medical visits, labs, research, and info on my insurance so I have it handy.
- Used sticky tabs to denote anything that she may need to turn to quickly
- Created some tables in a word doc with pertinent/key lab results over time to highlight a possible trend
Kendra Fletcher is an online fitness coach. She’s a wife, mom to two beautiful girls and an entrepreneur. She founded Kendra Fletcher Fitness to help people realize their fitness goals and live their best life. Recently, Kendra and her husband made the big leap to move their family south where the weather is warmer, and to a lifestyle better suited for them. She also founded a 2nd business called Golden Years Money Management.
How to find Kendra Fletcher:
Find Kendra on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kendrafletchercoaching/
Golden Years Money Management on Facebook
Author of ‘My Life Packet’ – a workbook to help you organize your life affairs