There is nothing as frustrating as a doctor not taking your fibromyalgia concerns seriously. It just compounds our stress, which in turn increases our pain.
Perhaps a letter might enlighten doctors, turn up their empathy, and help them hear what we really have to say.
Here is what I would say in that letter:
I understand that you spent a lot of time in medical school. And you did a lot of on-the-job training as you went through residency. I get that it’s frustrating having to diagnose and treat an illness like fibromyalgia. Perhaps nothing in your training prepared you for patients like me. But as your patient, I wonder how much training you had in “bedside manner” and communicating with your patients.
A lot of my FMS symptoms bother me, and it would be really helpful if we could have a conversation about this, so that when I leave your office I feel you’ve actually listened and understood me. I get that your hands may be tied by insurance regulations, and being wooed by pharmaceutical companies. The thing is, I don’t just need medication. I need a listening ear. Are you up for that?
I’m a single mom with two young children who depend on me to provide for them. I need help figuring out how to get through my work day, and still be able to care for my little ones. I need ideas on how to work with my illness so I’m productive as I can be, without triggering flares and losing work days, and possibly my job.
I am more than my diagnosis. I’m a human being who wants to live life to the fullest, even though I have limitations. I understand you’re human, but I’d really appreciate your undivided attention when I take time out of my day to talk with you, to pick up new ideas as my health picture changes. Fibromyalgia is no fun. I’d like you to treated me as you would your wife or daughter if they were struggling with this awful disease.
Your frustrated patient
Don’t settle for less than a doctor who will take the time to listen, care, and help you on your journey. We all deserve that.