Finding a supportive environment

Dr. Mona Marabani
Rheumatologist

It’s absolutely my role to help that patient become the person that they want to be or the person that they were. That’s the whole reason for my existence I think to help people to take control. I often say to them, you’re in the driver’s seat, you’re the boss, this is about you; I want to know what you want. I can give you lots of information, I can make recommendations for you and I need you to come with me. We need to meet halfway in this process but it’s all about making you the whole person that you want to be.

Suzie Edward May
Author of ‘Arthritis, pregnancy and the path to parenthood’ (rheumatoid arthritis)

The GP referred me to a rheumatologist who looked at my MRI scans after ordering them and diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. But the way that it was delivered, the way that I was told about my disease; there wasn’t much warmth there. There wasn’t much of a bedside manner. It was very matter-of-fact, this is what you have, this is what you have to take, here’s a brochure. There wasn’t a lot of support around it and I found that very difficult. It was a very emotional time. It was a time when I was completely shocked by my diagnosis. It wasn’t what I was expecting and it was a very difficult delivery of how I was actually diagnosed. I walked out of that rheumatologist’s office and found a new rheumatologist who I worked with under for about a year and then I eventually found someone else through my own choice.

Linda Bradbury
Nurse Practitioner, Rheumatology

It’s absolutely fine to go and find somebody else that you do have that good relationship with. You’re not going to get on with everybody in life and this is the same with your specialists.

Dr. Mona Marabani
Rheumatologist

Well I think it is really critical because this is going to be someone who you’re going to be seeing regularly for a long, long time. So I also say to people don’t hesitate to change if you feel that this person is someone you can’t relate to. If it’s not a good fit then you should ask your GP for a second opinion and I think that most people think that’s a very reasonable thing. You’ve got to find someone who you can connect with to make that therapeutic relationship work properly for both of you.

Suzie Edward May
Author of ‘Arthritis, pregnancy and the path to parenthood’ (rheumatoid arthritis)

For the next 10 years I was looked after by an incredible rheumatologist and we developed a what I call a working relationship where we had the utmost respect for each other. I would respect his opinion, he would respect my opinion. We worked together to come up with treatment options and a treatment plan. That evolved and changed over the years which was responsive to my goals.

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