Tips for Talking to Your Doctor about Hep C
If you are newly diagnosed, talking to your doctor about hep C is an important first step in beginning treatment. Getting off to a good start helps you to set the pace for a strong relationship in the future. A health care practitioner may be right for you, or there could be a referral to a specialist, if you need one. Either way, your medical team is made up of qualified professionals who will be leading you into a life that is hepatitis-free. I’ve been there, and here are my best tips for talking to your doctor about hep C.
Write down questions ahead of time on a pad of paper. I've given you some examples of questions I asked below. Use it for each visit, and take notes that you want to remember. Bring a list of the drugs you are currently taking. Have your identification and insurance paperwork organized and ready for the office.
Bring a friend
For some, it is easier to have a friend or family member come along for the first visit. They can be an extra set of listening ears as you get answers to important questions. They may provide extra support, and can help you to feel more comfortable.
Whether it is your first time to meet a new doctor, or you are going to a long time family physician, you may worry about being judged. In either case, the doctor is not there to look down on you. They can give you accurate information, when you tell them the truth. If you know how you became infected with hep C, tell them from the start. If you are not sure, that is okay too. By being honest about your history. This information is needed to help you become free of the virus.
Common questions to ask your doctor
How sick am I?
What medicines are available for me?
Find out what new drugs have been released, and which ones will work for your genotype. It can also be helpful to determine a timeline for your treatment plan.
How will my hep C treatment be paid for?
If money or insurance is a problem for you, ask what options are available, and if they can provide you with assistance.
Do I need to change my diet or lifestyle?
Your doctor can offer recommendations based on your health and activity level. Be sure to make notes about any suggestions they make, and then do your best to follow through on making changes.
Will I be able to continue working?
Ask about the length of treatment, and what energy level you can expect with your stage of liver disease.
When will I recover from treatment?
Your medical provider will asses your current level of health, and from there, they can give you an idea of how quickly you will rebound after the treatment is complete.
Can I live a normal life after treatment?
Get the reassurance that you will be able to make lifestyle changes and move forward after hep C is gone.
These tips for talking to the doctor about hep C are handy to have, and will help you get the assistance and support that you need after being diagnosed. Have regular conversations with your medical staff, and be proactive in your healthy future that is hep-C-free.
What best describes you?