Why I Am Avoiding My Doctor
Last updated: August 2023
I have a confession to make.
I canceled a follow-up appointment with my allergy doctor 5 months ago and I have no immediate plans to reschedule.
Don’t get me wrong – I like my doctor. I like the office staff. There is nothing upsetting or difficult about going to appointments. I’m just not feeling it right now. Let me explain.
Treating chronic hives is a long game
Or, at least, that’s how it feels to me. The last time I went to my doctor, we talked about my breakthrough hives and how despite taking high doses of daily allergy medication, those persistent buggers were still making appearances on the regular. Not enough to hinder daily life activities, but enough to be quite annoying.
The doctor added 2 medications to my regimen (Pepcid and Singulair) and told me to come back in a month. Realistically, he felt the chance these drugs would make any difference was quite low. But the step-wise approach to treating chronic hives requires giving them a try before advancing on to other options.
Unexpected loss and new plans
I took the new drugs for a month – I even got them refilled. I was still seeing breakthrough hives and was prepared to report back at my follow-up and cross this step off the list with my doctor.
Then life threw me a curveball. My dog died unexpectedly the week of my scheduled follow-up. I was heartbroken and decided to spend some time with family, in another state. I canceled my appointment and had every intention to make a new one once I was back home.
But then I traveled. A lot. I went to Boston, New York, Washington DC, Savannah, Charleston, Tampa, and Chicago. I spent time visiting friends and family because travel wasn’t so easy when my dog was living. Somewhere along the way, I stopped taking those 2 new drugs. I didn’t see the point in continuing to take medication that wasn’t making any difference for me.
I have not forgotten about my doctor
I have not forgotten that I need to go back for that follow-up to tell the doctor that the medications didn't work for me. But I am struggling with this whole long-game approach to treatment. I’m not feeling motivated enough by the discomfort or inconvenience of hives to jump through the hoops of ultimately getting approved for Xolair - which I think is the end game for me.
And the more I think about the whole experience of taking that medication my doctor really didn’t think would work simply to check off a box in a progression plan, well, I don’t like it.
I will go back for my follow-up…someday
The rational part of me knows this is not my doctor’s fault and that the step-wise approach is not that uncommon in the medical world. So I will go back for my follow-up appointment and try hard not to think of it as a waste of time and money. Going in before the end of the year sounds like a nice goal – but don’t hold me to it.
Living with hives is not easy
There’s a lot that frustrates me about living with hives. At the top of my list is not knowing WHY they suddenly came on at this point in my life. This process of taking medicine that is unlikely to work comes in at a close second.
Can anyone else relate to feeling frustrated with your treatment plan? I’d love to hear your story. Living with hives is not easy and it's OK to get discouraged, like I am feeling now. Whether we are sharing to encourage one another or commiserate together, I’m grateful to be in a community where others know what the struggle feels like.
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