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Become a Powerful Patient with my book Fireballs in my Eucharist More on Fireballs in my Eucharist - Fight Cancer Smarter

Hi, I’m Dr. Joseph Pinzone and I am the CEO and Medical Director of Amai, an Innovative Medical and Wellness Practice, Inc. I have written a provocative book called, Fireballs in My Eucharist – Fight Cancer Smarter. My main premise is to make you a more powerful patient. How can you do that? Well, I think you can do that in a number of ways.
I actually give you information about cancer, including what it is and what causes it. I do use some technical terms, but I do it in a way that’s understandable. You’d be surprised how much more powerful you’ll feel when you have that information.
In the book, I also discuss the doctor-patient relationship, and the right questions to ask. YOU need to take responsibility for your healthcare. People may acknowledge that at some level, but do they really practice it? They believe that their doctor is there to do that, to take care of them. But in fact, you are the CEO & Chairman of the business of providing healthcare to yourself. Your doctor is the COO, He or SHE works for YOU. You make the ultimate decision on the strategy of how best to deal with your disease; however, their job is to help you make that decision and execute the plan that you both agree on.
I use this analogy very purposely, because people will often come with a disease, particularly cancer, and will have that “deer-in-the-headlights” feeling, where they are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. I say no to this. Every one runs something. You run your life, you run a household, a division, a business, etc. You have more skills than you think.
Being ill requires two things from us. It requires us to take charge of the organization and the decision-making, and it requires us to take charge of the responsibilities of leading the team. That means I try to teach you how to use your existing skill sets to better manage a visit to the doctor. So how can you do this? It’s actually quite simple.
In my book, Fireballs in my Eucharist, I tell you what the doctor needs to know. The doctor wants to know two important things. The doctor wants to know why is your “Chief Complaint” (CC) why you’re in their office now; and you need to reply in a succinct way. For example: “I am here because I’ve experienced abdominal pain for the past three weeks. It’s been constant and I don’t know what it’s from.” That’s a very powerful and specific statement. The more succinct you can be with your doctor the more time you’ll have at the end of the visit to make decisions, and the more the doctor is put on notice that you’re an informed patient.
The second thing the doctor will want to know is your “History of Present Illness” (HPI). The doctor wants to know what is the first time that you believe this particular symptom or sign started. It may be the abdominal pain, in this example, or you may have had heart burn 6 months ago, on and off, followed by the abdominal pain. The history of present illness doesn’t necessarily start on a particular day. You and the doctor do a little bit of a dance, back and forth, to try and pinpoint how and when it started, but it all starts with you. You need to ask yourself when the problem started, and write a story about it. It doesn’t have to be a big long story, it can be an outline of words, but it has to make sense so the doctor can put this in chronological order. What happened, when did it happen, and why?
The reason you should do this is so that you can have time to make decisions. If you don’t do this, the doctor will have to spend time to pull this information out of you. There are many more helpful suggestions like this in the book.
An example of what you should avoid, is to go to the doctor, complain about a pain in your arm, and tell the doctor that you’ve had the pain “for a while”. A more specific response would be to tell the doctor, “My left arm began hurting three weeks ago, after I fell. I saw an orthopedist. He did an x-ray, examined it, and thought I might have a tear in my rotator cuff, so he’s sending me now for an MRI.” That is a story right there. It may not be your story, and it’s not a story about cancer, but it’s an example of how you can be a powerful patient. And that’s what the book is about. I let you know what the doctor wants to know; and with that knowledge you become a more informed, efficient, and powerful patient. Now, I don’t expect you to keep a health journal, as most people won’t do that, but what you can do is sit down for five to fifteen minutes, before a doctor’s appointment, and think about your issues and write down all the information you can think of related to your visit. What you want to avoid is walking into the doctor’s office coldly, without a single thought of what the doctor might want to know.
Author Dr. Joseph J. Pinzone serves as the endocrinologist and primary concierge medicine physician for AMAI patients, board-certified in Internal Medicine as well as Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Learn more about AMAI's Corporate Wellness 360° program.
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