10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor When You Are Newly Diagnosed

It can often be very difficult to know what to ask or even where to begin when you have questions for your doctor at your first appointment. Community members have expressed feeling easily overwhelmed and very nervous at their first appointment. The doctor should ask if you have questions or concerns, but it can be difficult to ask a question if you don’t even know what you should be asking? Often times you may feel confused about where to even start.

It can feel very difficult to put words to the thoughts that may be swirling around in your head, especially at that first appointment. Sometimes it can feel as if you don't even know what you are confused about or what your concerns are until you leave the appointment and you no longer have your medical provider in front of you to ask questions to. No one wants to leave an appointment feeling like they have a million questions and no answers, this can lead to feeling anxious and frustrated, maybe even scared. Pile that on top of an already complicated disease like macular degeneration and it can start quite a downward spiral out of control.

Good questions to ask

We have compiled a list of some common questions that may be helpful to have on hand for your first few doctor's appointments. It may seem like quite a few questions, but remember you do not have to ask all of them, they are simply a list of questions that can act as a guide to during those first couple appointments.

  • What are my options for treatment and pro/cons of each?
  • What will happen if I choose not to treat my condition at this time?
  • Are there dietary or supplement changes you would suggest I make?
  • What are the potential side effects of my treatment options?
  • How are appointments, procedures, questions, or concerns handled?
  • How often can I expect to be seen by the doctor for my condition? Will I always see the same doctor?
  • How do I access my test and lab results?
  • Do I have to decide today on treatment or can I take a week and think it over?
  • If I have a question or concern between appointments, can I call the office, email, or send a message with MyChart (if available)?
  • Question for a specialist: If I become sick with a possible infection, should I contact you or my general practitioner? (This is important to ask especially if you are prescribed medicine that lowers your immune system.)

A new diagnosis can be scary

Being newly diagnosed with macular degeneration can be scary and it can be hard to know what to expect. At first, it can feel like you are learning a foreign language. Test results, medications, and side effects may be difficult to understand, sometimes it can feel like making an educated decision about your own health feels impossible. When you know the right questions to ask, that is the first step to help you better plan and prepare for your journey with macular degeneration.

What questions do you wish you had asked at those first appointments when you were newly diagnosed? Let us know in the comments!

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