Dealing with Doctors & Healthcare Professionals 

5 Things Patients With RA Want Their Doctors To Know - on Rheumatology Network
A "wish list" of things patients with RA want their doctors to remember.  

Meeting A New Rheumatologist – on
I was scared about the prospect of switching rheumatologists. I felt somewhat overwhelmed at the prospect of meeting this stranger and letting him into my life, hoping he would eventually become a partner I could trust to help me make the right decisions about my health. If you are in the position of meeting a new rheumatologist, here are some things to consider that might help.

Beyond Pain Scales: 6 Ways to Communicate Pain – on Mango Health
I consider some ideas to productively make use of the dreaded 1-10 pain scale! 

I think what I hate most about life with chronic pain is when someone says this: “please rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10.” 

The Snarky Voice – on
The snarky voice wasn’t interested in keeping an open mind or giving anyone the benefit of the doubt...The snarky voice is a defense mechanism I’ve developed based on my past experiences.

The Importance of Patient Feedback – on
Our healthcare system can be extremely complicated to navigate. It often seems like patients are a captive audience, with little to no power to influence how we are treated. 

Does Sexism Exist in Healthcare? – on
Scientific studies have actually proved that there is a definite gender bias when it comes to how pain is treated. 

May I Have A Prescription for Patience, Please? - on 
Living with a chronic illness necessarily means that you aren’t a stranger to doctors, nurses, needles, X-rays, procedures, etc. However, simply having an abundance of experience doesn’t mean it is always easy to interact with medical providers – especially in situations where you don’t feel well.

Paying Medical Bills: Why Is It Sometimes So Difficult? - on
Sometimes it feels like just managing medical bills is a full time job. 

Dealing with Medications

Biosimilars: To Switch or Not to Switch? That Is The Question! - on
If you’re interested in new and emerging treatments for RA, you’ve probably at least heard the term “biosimilars.” But what exactly are biosimilars? And what should you do if your doctor recommends one? 

From The Infusion Chair – on
I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but this scenario, which would likely seem foreign or even scary to most people, feels quite ordinary to me now.

A Hopeful Guinea Pig – on
Giving up on Remicade, after struggling to find the right treatment for more than a year, felt sort of like going back to square one... Even though I still felt like some sort of guinea pig, at least my rheumatologist helped me feel like a hopeful one.

Back To Square One. Again.  – on
It has probably happened to everyone who has ever been diagnosed with RA. One day you start to notice that your medications don’t seem to be helping as much as they used to.

Facing Forward – on
If the Rituxan works, I won’t have to have another infusion for at least six months. However, I can’t really bear to think about what I will do if it doesn’t work.

Traveling With Refrigerated Medications – on
Are you traveling with refrigerated meds in tow this holiday season?  

Ready to try a new medication? Just follow these 100 easy steps and you’ll be giving it a try it in no time! (Since this is only a slight exaggeration, I hope we can all laugh about it together!)

Opioids for the Treatment of Chronic Pain… Use or Abuse? – on
The question being debated by two prominent doctors was this - Can doctors safely prescribe opiates for chronic non-cancer pain?

Stop The Stigma – on
I was very pleased to see this commercial - focusing on a real issue in the chronic pain community - in a prime spot during the Super Bowl! Then I saw Bill Maher’s tweet.

Understanding the CDC Opioid Prescription Guidelines – on
Some important things to keep in mind when considering the new CDC guidelines. First, the guidelines are just that: guidelines. In fact, they are actually voluntary.

When It Comes To Managing Opioid Use, Can We Get A Little More Carrot Please? – on
We’ve already have plenty of sticks in place to discourage patients from using opioids – from burdensome regulations to social stigma to now, potentially, the need to be urine tested. But where are the carrots? Where are the recommendations and policies making the alternatives to opioids easier for patients to access and afford? 

Alternative Treatment Options

Cannabis as a Treatment Option - on
A presentation at the 2017 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting called “Cannabis in Society and Medical Practice.” 

Dealing with Insurance

Jumping Through Insurance Hoops – on
The hoops we have to jump through to follow healthcare and insurance procedures can be very frustrating, especially when we are already feeling our worst. I wanted to offer a few tips that might help.

There Must Be A Better Way  – on
I understand that the DEA is trying to discourage abuse and encourage monitoring of people taking these medications, but I can’t help thinking that there must be a better way.

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