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Old 08-29-2005, 10:43 AM   #1
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Letter to Dr

When one has Health Anxiety - chances are they contact their Dr more than usual. Because of this and because I know my chart has been labeled "anxiety patient" I was concerned that my Dr may not take my concerns seriously. So I wrote her a letter. Do you think this was weird to do? Here is the letter:

Dear Dr XXX

I am writing this letter for a couple different reasons. First of all, I know you are a very busy person and wanted to be able to convey my thoughts to you at your convenience. Also, when I am speaking to you directly, I tend to forget everything I want to say. This way I can easily map out my thoughts without getting flustered or forgetful.

Secondly, I want you to know that I have immensely appreciated your kind, thorough, respectful care in these past years. I have been to many physicians and none have treated me the way you have. You are personable and have never treated me as a bother. This has meant a lot to me.

I know that I am not the easiest person to deal with, medically speaking. I am a nervous type especially when it comes to health issues. I fear that my chart is flagged as a hypochondriac and that I have become the girl who cried wolf. Believe me, that is the last thing I want. I feel I am an intelligent person with a need to be taken seriously. There are reasons for the way I react. First being the young death of my father. He died at the age of 46 and had health problems his entire life. He parents also died quite young. This has been something that has been quite hard to deal with. Also, there was the misdiagnosis of the SVT for so many years. I had a number of ER visits when my heart was going crazy and I was consistently patted on the head and given a xanax and sent out the door. For over 8 years this happened. I knew something wasn’t physically right. But I was made to feel crazy. Of course I developed severe anxiety, who wouldn’t. Finally the SVT was treated and my life improved ten fold. Unfortunately the anxiety hasn’t completely disappeared. I have a hard time accepting the word of physicians now and feel I am never being taken seriously. Please know that this isn’t directed at you, but at the medical profession in general.

And now I stand here again a bit confused. I feel symptoms that aren’t quite right. Do I go with my gut? Or blame anxiety? Vickie and the ER told me that my ‘tests’ are normal. I am not sure what tests were even done. I feel fatigued all the time. Could be medication, I am aware. I get aches in various localized places in my body. They do not last long and are not in any way severe. I usually don’t even take Tylenol. It’s just something different. One of the places I get this ache is in my chest. Not like heart attack pain, but still makes me worry about my heart. So I am told I am fine. I guess I just have to believe it. But sometimes it is hard to ignore. As a public, we are constantly inundated with information. From magazine articles, to talk shows, news programs, and even commercials we are warned about so many health issues. During one TV program it is possible to see 3 different commercials warning you about everything from DVT, heart attack, and cancer. They all say the same thing, “If you feel any of these symptoms, call your Dr. or 911 immediately.” So I think, “well, chest pain, nausea, dizziness…I feel that…so should I call…should I worry?” What are we suppose to think? Articles tell you that you are your best judge when it comes to your health. But I have been made to doubt my own judgment.

What I truly believe may sound strange. I really think that there is something in my brain, such as a neurotransmitter or some kind of receptor (obviously I know little about this stuff) that is super sensitive to pain, stimuli, and chemicals. I feel that the anxiety, the SVT, and these newer symptoms are all possibly linked to this one problem. I think that I am very sensitive to adrenaline. I think that was a big reason for the anxiety and SVT. For so many years I have simply been physically sensitive. I can feel things that people normally cannot feel or notice. I swear, if my BP drops by one point, I feel it. Temperature raises, I feel it. So since I feel these things so clearly, I react in kind of a panic way. I think this may also be why childbirth was such a horrendous experience and the epidurals did not work. At one point I actually felt like I left my body because the pain was so terrible. As bad as it was, of course it was worth it. Cassidy is everything to me. And that is one more reason I need to make sure I am always going to be here for her.

I may sound like a complete crazy person to you. I guess I am taking that risk. I just wanted you to know where I am coming from. I want you to know that I am not a nut. Not everything is in my head. And that I am doing everything I possibly can to fix the issues that ARE in my head. I am going to therapy and taking a new anxiety medication, Klonopin. I am exercising, eating well, taking vitamins. I do not smoke, drink (with the exception of a couple glasses of wine a month), and do not consume any caffeine. I am behaviorally doing everything I can to gain the best mental and physical well-being.

I know that doctors get a sense of a patient that may be hard to change. Once labeled a weirdo, probably always a weirdo. But I thought I would do my best to convince you otherwise. Your opinion is not only important to me, but I feel it is important to my health as well.

I also wanted to let you know that when I was talking to my psychiatrist, Dr. XXX, I mentioned you were my general physician. This man is quite skeptical about the medical field in general and he made that very clear. But he had nothing but praise to say about you. He said that you are one of the best practioners in the area. I agreed whole heartedly.

Take care and thank you so much for your time!

Sincerely,

 
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Old 08-29-2005, 10:55 AM   #2
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Re: Letter to Dr

I think that is a wonderful letter and if that doesn't do the trick nothing will. I think more people should take heartfelt letters to their drs if for no other reason than you tend to forget or get embarrassed to mention everything on your mind when you're sitting in their office.

I am considering going to see a new therapist as my anxiety seems to be getting worse again. I will probably follow your example and write a letter describing everyhting I am feeling and all of my experiences. The new docs initial reaction to this will tell me if he/she is a good one or not!

Can I ask what is SVT? I've been seeing that on this board a lot lately.

 
Old 08-29-2005, 11:02 AM   #3
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Re: Letter to Dr

Thank you very much for your kind words.

SVT is superventricular tachycardia. It is usually a beniegn tachycardia when your heart speeds up really fast (at my worst episode it went to 150-160 while resting very suddenly) for no reason. Palpitations, PVCs and such are also symptoms.

 
Old 08-29-2005, 06:12 PM   #4
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Re: Letter to Dr

Cheers that was an excellent letter you wrote. I feel the same way like my doctor's office views me as a hypochondriac. I too may take the time one day to write a letter to my primary doctor. I think he's amazing and has treated me so very well over the years. After all, he's the one who brought me into this world (yes he delivered me!) so I plan to stick with him to the end

 
Old 08-29-2005, 06:27 PM   #5
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Re: Letter to Dr

I agree bravo great idea and letter.I too feel like I am not taken seriously since diagnosed with anxiety disorder and that everything I get is blamed on the anxiety.


Mrs that is so great and cool! still seeing the doctor who delivered you wow
I have changed doctors so many times in my life its crazy

 
Old 08-29-2005, 10:09 PM   #6
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Re: Letter to Dr

Hi Cheers44,

It is a very nice and thorough letter that you have written to your dr. Maybe you do have a wonderful, understanding dr. The only thing that may work against you, is the length. Most drs. only read short, 1 - 2 pg. handwritten, well spaced letters or ?s. I do not know if any of my docs would read something like that, because they are all so busy.

Do not take offence at the above and later statements. I only mean well. It is very theraputic to write such a letter. That will probably help you too. I wish you well.

Take care. Wannabe

 
Old 08-29-2005, 11:45 PM   #7
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Re: Letter to Dr

Yes I agree with ToBeFreeToRoam, most doctors are very busy. Extremely busy. When they are not looking at charts they are on their computers, or looking through the drug hand book, or figuring out dosage calculations for prescriptions.They see patients usually all day long, make orders,spend time with their patients talking,then transcribing and completing their charts. Who knows maybe they even make rounds to the hospital on shifts. When they go home, its time to forget about the day. I have to say...I do know about a doctors schedule. (No, I am not a doctor.) but these people can only do so much or they can burn out just like you and I. As much as I understand about doctors schedules, I know that doctors are people just like you and me. They have good and bad days, and some days they are just plain warn out and sometimes frustrated with some patients.They are not miracle workers ...they are doing the best they can at their job as ethically and sound as they can and also for legal purposes.They get sued a lot too. As much as I understand about what I am talking about...I also think that the medical field is lacking in areas, such as the whole area surrounding "anxiety." I understand anxiety and I suffer from it terribly. I also had a heart situation a few years ago and a team of specialists were half in agreement and half not in agreement that I was suffering from viral paricarditis. By the way, the blood tests showed I had a viral thing going on. I had all the symtoms of Paricarditis. You cannot see paricarditis on a ultrasound, or xray because there is nothing to see. So how do you know? You go by symptoms. I was diagnosed with it and treated, but like I said half of the team was skeptical. I felt like I was dying, and it went on for 3 months. Ever since then--I have anxiety that just goes on and on. And, its hard for me to love the medical field and be mad at it at the same time. But I do.
Your letter is good for therapeutic reasons, and I bet it felt good to share a peice of your mind.
Good luck, let me know how things are going for you. I wish you absolutely only the best, and the best of health and happiness.
WF

 
Old 08-29-2005, 11:51 PM   #8
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Re: Letter to Dr

I agree fully with all the coments and writing a letter is a great idea i to allways forget what i want to say also. I also worry thati am being a pain in the neck everytime i go there to visit but i think my GP is pretty understanding of it all . I think i to may write a letter to my Doc .....

 
Old 08-30-2005, 12:45 AM   #9
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Re: Letter to Dr

I agree it was avery good letter and also agree with the other post a little bit.Some of these docs are so busy they don't have time to do anything,but at the same time they are so busy they think they can diagnose you at a whim give you meds and be done with you.But I fell that if you feel bad or something new has come up and YOU are paying for medical care it is your right to atleast get test done.It is the docs whis so called time is wasted,not the lab,ultrasound or the other places where you can get checked out.I went for a EKG and the x-ray tech was so nice and the only reason I was referred was because of heart disesae in my family(Iam 31).I wrote a letter to the complaints department of my hospital(HMO) and told them it seems my doc is not taking me seriously and I am addicted to the klonopin(5mg a daywas twice) so good luck and keep us posted to see if your letter worked

 
Old 08-30-2005, 06:31 AM   #10
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Re: Letter to Dr

I actually did send it to her a couple weeks ago. She called me two days after I sent it. It was a Saturday. She said she goes in for a couple hours on Sat mornings because it is quiet. Anyway, it was clear she read my whole letter. She seemed appreciatve. And she really wanted me to know that she does not think of me as strange in anyway. She said that she always wants me to call if I have any concerns. She was very nice and understanding about it. I think I am glad I sent it.

 
Old 08-30-2005, 06:58 AM   #11
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Re: Letter to Dr

I have wrote my doctor a couple of times to let him know of things going on that may bring on more anxiety. I think this is a good idea because I too forget to tell him some things since I only see him every 3 or 4 months. He said he appreciated me keeping him up-to-date between visits, and I noticed all my letters were in my file. I think this helps him cover his {REMOVED}due to the way these doctors who prescribe narcotics are being watched. I make sure that I also keep copies of everything. I don't have the time to keep a journal, but I do make sure that should my doctor be called on the carpet, I can show that it wasn't just me coming to him complaining of these symptoms. I live in Kentucky, and we are one of the most watch dog states when it comes to controlled substances - being the people who take them, and the doctors who prescribe them.

Also, I think it makes for a great patient - doctor relationship. I think it shows them that you are working with them to try to keep these attacks under control.

Last edited by ms_mod; 08-30-2005 at 07:58 AM. Reason: Do not used censored words. Thanks, Ms_Mod

 
Old 08-30-2005, 09:12 AM   #12
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Re: Letter to Dr

I wrote a similar letter to my doctor last Spring (2004) when I had bouts of unexplained dizzines, worsening headaches. I had been keeping a journal of all the symptoms and finally just wrote a letter and sent her the whole thing at the end asking for one of a few actions. It did help me feel like I had communicated everything and it did get me the test (head MRI) that I really wanted.

I now have a different doctor who I like much better but I have also given her this information so it is on file and because I too often leave appointments wishing I'd mentioned something or having forgotten to ask all my questions.

 
Old 08-30-2005, 11:46 AM   #13
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Re: Letter to Dr

All I can say is EXCELLENT JOB!. there is NOTHING at all wrong with writing a personal letter to your doctor (I do it myself) and I am fortunate enough to have a doctor that carefully reads and goes over everything with me in her office no matter how long it takes. Unfortunately, some doctors hate it when you write them letters or they just "speed read" it and brush you off. As long as you keep it fairly breif and do a little praising to stroke thier ego and/or show your appreciation a little bit, I find that writing a letter can help a LOT. Hang in their my friend!.

 
Old 08-30-2005, 10:29 PM   #14
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Re: Letter to Dr

Hi all,

I agree with LonelyTraveler, It is good that you wrote it and that your dr. took the time to read it. But I would say (depending on the type of dr.) that 1/2 of all drs. would not read a long letter. Good For You, that you have such a caring doctor!

I just write short 1 - 2 pg big, clear sentences or ?s. For my dads drs. and for my self (because I am assertive), I just write down my ?s or concerns on smaller note paper and they usually read that in front of me and answer them all. Before they leave the room! I also get copies of all my tests and such!

That is great for all you who have drs. that have/take the time to read letters! Mine are good drs., but they would probably charge extra to read long letters!

Good for yall! Take care of you. Wannabe

 
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