First of all, breathe. Calm the nervous system down a bit because the diagnosis could be revealing, shocking, scary, validating amongst other emotions and feelings. Talk with your medical provider and see what they are recommending, ordering, and suggesting. Take in the information and truly listen to your provider. If you know ahead that it might be serious, bring an advocate to the appointment with you, because you may not hear the whole story and all the information provided because you may be sitting with your emotions once you hear a diagnosis.
Then once you get the diagnosis begin researching and determining with discernment what is the next step. Sometimes we jump into action before we have the information we need to make the best choices for ourselves. Maybe you need a second opinion. Maybe you need to communicate with your family to get their input on what should be the step step. Maybe there are other providers that need to know the diagnosis and course of action plan to assist in making further decisions on the matter.
Remember we are human and do not come with a personal manual. Therefore what one provider may recommend may not be what another provider would recommend. If you know your body and have some knowledge about the diagnosis and have some education in the health field use that part of your brain to discern what is best for you.
Then you can proceed with an action plan. Let us say, the provider recommends medicine. Learn about the medications. Then research different payment options for the medicines. Sometimes there are avenues outside of insurance plans. Sometimes an option might be charity assistance. Different sources like various drug stores, grocery stores and pack delivery pharmacy costs vary significantly. Communicate with your provider or social worker on your case what other options you have if the medication is too expensive for your budget. I do not suggest going out of the states for the medicines because those are not FDA regulated.
Now let us discuss special testing the provider may order. Learn about the tests and who is reading the test results. Which lab or hospital is in network. if you have insurance. You have choices even if your provider tells you where to go. Learn about what your insurance plan pays for upfront so you do not get any surprises. Remember tests are only tests. It does not always mean negative things will in fact occur. Then once you undergo the testing and learn of the possible diagnosis then you have information on how to proceed with your provider’s input.
What is next? Could be the provider recommending many things like diet changes, more testing, referral to another doctor or specialist, different types of treatments or surgeries for example. Againlisten to the provider and take in the formation. Then with discernment you and your doctor and decide how you will move forward to the next step. Make sure you gather the information and again research about different options if they give you two or more different directions you may take. If it is surgery, find out about the surgeon. How many years of experience he has. What kind of training he has. What are the statistics about his surgical outcomes at the specific hospital the surgery will be performed at.
If the provider recommends testing. Learn about the test. What is the difference between a CT scan, MRI and x-ray for instance? Specialists are distinguished from a family doctor let us say because a specialist went for more schooling and education to learn that particular specialty such as neurology, OB/ GYN, pediatrics etc. Diet changes may sound restrictive. I tend to focus on why the diet was ordered and how it will help support my health and focus on what I can eat instead of what I can no longer partake in. Thinking positively instead of negatively of what you can not ingest.
Now tell us chat about medical bills for your doctor, testing, from hospitals etc. When dealing with hospital bills there may be errors in coding of the treatments or testing or the charges that you are being billed for. People often find mistakes on bills. So what you can do is review the EOBs and hospital bills for errors. Another good way to learn about paying your medical bills is by requesting a reduction in price if you pay the bill in full upfront or ask for a payment plan. Now the law is you have a year to pay from the bill date before it goes into collections. Ask for itemized bills, look and research and look for errors on the bill. If you can not even afford the payment plan options then send in payments of $10 or $20 a month to keep yourself out of collections.
Also remember to attend your follow up visits with your providers and your years exams. Know your important numbers being Blood Pressure, BMI or weight and height, Blood sugar numbers, cholesterol numbers and kidney function levels through blood tests and urine samples.Then tell them any of your concerns or medical issues over the past year.
Remember your health is your number one commodity. What actions or lack of actions will follow you through your life. You are worth that investment. Somethings you may be able to correct later in life, however most things will continue to add up and be worse over time. Up your schedule of exercise and doctor’s appointment on your schedule and do it with as much attention as a big project at work because you are the most important project you will ever have.