One of the biggest fears of moving from Denver to Boston was the fear of starting over with doctors.
I’ve seen my PCP since I was 10 years old . She’s the one who never gave up when I got drastically sick at the age of 14 and stayed sick until 16. She’s the one who ordered the full blood work up and then referred me off to my Rheumatologist who diagnosed me at the age of 16 with arthritis.
Moving from Denver to Boston is hard. Moving from Denver to Boston with arthritis is challenging.
With my new job, came a new health plan. I’ve gone from a PPO to a HMO, which essentially means that my PCP has to refer me off to my doctors. So finding the right one was essential. I was told to just find one online. Really? Finding one online is probably quite suitable for some, but for me, I’ve got extra circumstances. I had to find the right PCP who would take the time to listen to my story and understand that I’ve been on Remicade since July 200o. A PCP who wouldn’t just look at me and say “lets try some Tylenol and I’ll see you in 8 weeks.” Remicade has been MY lifeline to a normal life. I’m not giving up on it.
Well, I did go online and shockingly I found several doctor who not only practice PCP, but also specializes in Rheumatology. WOW! I guess that’s the bonus of moving to the great state of Massachusetts – plenty of doctors! I gave the list to Mr. P, who then called them to confirm if they were indeed taking new patients. After his unconditional love and effort, it led me to a doctor whose taking new patients, whose won numerous doctor awards and two awards with my insurance company for excellence, as well as, the specialty of Rheumatology. YAY!
On the day of my appointment, I walk in and I’m really nervous. He’s confused as to why my treatment was so aggressive. Well, I wanted it that way. At the age of 16, I wanted a normal life, no matter the consequence. I wanted to go to prom, drive my car, go to college, and eventually get married. At the age of 16, you’re told numerous times that you have your entire life ahead of you. So why would it be any different with a diagnosis? My doctor and my parents understood that.
Yes, I do agree that my treatment was a very aggressive approach, but by the time my Dr. Rheumy saw me, I was in a wheel chair. I didn’t have options. At the time it was now or never.
New Dr. PCP asked if I was open to other treatment options. Like Humira. I told him only if Remicade stopped working. What’s the point of stopping a drug I’ve been on for 13 years, that has a proven track record of working, and the ability to show my best attribute of nothing wrong with me? Why would I stop something good, just to try something new? He then asked me why they didn’t try me on Humira before Remicade. Well, because Humira wasn’t around. Remicade wasn’t even FDA approved for rheumatoid arthritis , let alone my type of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis.
“Oh, well, that makes sense,” he says.
After a quick physical examination we moved to his private office.
“Since your Remicade is due in two weeks, and I don’t want it to lapse, let’s get you set-up right away. I’ll be your PCP and Rheumatologist. I think this will prevent any confusion, as well as, any delay that could occur if I did refer you to someone else. Now, what other medications are you on? I’ll set you up with the doctors you need to see so you have a smooth transition.”
I cried. All of my fears of finding a doctor and then jumping through necessary hoops to explain my story , disappeared. All my fears of being in pain for weeks and weeks while I was finding said doctor, disappeared.
We went over my medications and my family history. He’s referred me off to other doctors, whom I’ve already got appointments to see. I still can’t believe the quick transition because as I write this, I’m sitting in my new Infusion Room getting my Remicade medication. I am actually doing this. I actually found a doctor. I found a doctor who gets it.