Active vs Reactive Patient (RA Blog Week 2016)

Active versus reactive patients – We usually start as naïve and trusting patients, then at some point we realize we must take an active part in our own medical decisions. Tell the story of your move to active patient or why you are not there as yet. – RA Blog Prompt
I loved my first rheumatologist who was also the one who diagnosed me with my rheumatoid arthritis. He was an older gentleman and while he helped me medically, he was also someone fun to talk to. I actually looked forward to my visits.
From early on in my diagnosis I was placed on Enbrel, a biologic. I didn’t think twice about it  and trusted my doctor. I am glad I did because it has worked wonders for me.
That was when I was around 18 years old. I am 29 now and in the last couple of years I have really learned the potential serious side effects of biologics and other medication. Was I aware of these side effects over 10 yeas ago? Probably, but I didn’t pay much attention to it.
As bad as it sounds, part of me is glad that I don’t remember hearing the potential side effects. I do struggle with anxiety and there is a chance that if I had remember the side effects when I was 18 I may have not started Enbrel and I would not be able to do the things I am able to do today.
Of course now I am older, more experienced and hopefully more wiser! I have also always believed that knowledge is power. Knowledge is especially important to your health. I am becoming more educated about a variety of health issues and I believe this has truly benefited me. One does need to be educated about their own health to be their own advocate. There is no better advocate for you then yourself.
I believe I am an active patient and have become one in the past few years.  I now do more research  on a variety of health topics to help me in my health journey. I would say that this started a couple of years ago when I was having more health issues and had no idea what it could be. It was a huge mystery and this really encourage me to get more educated about my own health.
I have also begun to talk to my doctor more about things and this has really opened the communication between my doctor and myself. Good communication with your doctor is CRITICAL for your treatment.
Each day, and with each doctor visit, I am learning more and I am happy to continue to invest in my health education for the sake of my future.

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