18 Things People With Chronic Illness Wish Their Doctors Would Say
The relationship between a patient and his or her doctor can have a profound impact on the patient’s journey with chronic illness. Doctors’ words matter: an encouraging comment can go a long way towards making a patient feel supported and hopeful — and an insensitive remark can do just the opposite.
We asked our Mighty community with chronic illnesses what they wish their doctors would say to them. These are the remarks that allow a patient to walk out of their doctor’s office feeling confident and, most importantly, heard.
Here’s what they told us:
1. “I will investigate any new symptoms that arise on their own basis and never assume it’s just ‘another symptom’ of your chronic illness.” — Hay Green
2. “It’s not what they say, it’s what they don’t write! Doctors don’t write enough information in their notes about chronic illness conditions. Medical records are too scant on details of how the chronic condition impedes daily life. That has to change.” — Ethan Terry
3. “I know I cannot cure you, but I will try to help you feel better.” — Hannah Waldron
4. “I’d like my daughter’s doctors to say, ‘We only know about this condition from what we have seen in the past. It is what we have studied and treated, and it is the basis for our projections. However, we have yet to see the future, and for you, the possibilities are infinite. Anything is possible.'” — Kathy Milburn
5. “‘I trust that you are able to critically assess information from other patients and the research papers. As such, I believe you know best what your next steps should be and I will do everything I can to support you.’ By the way, this is almost exactly what my doctor does say to me — she is a gem and I am very lucky to have found her.” — Polly Moyer
6. “Where there’s life, there’s hope.” — Cw Mill
7. “‘I know we haven’t improved any of your symptoms yet but we’re going to keep trying until we do.’ I was diagnosed with three autoimmune conditions, given treatment for two and then left to it despite none of my symptoms having been alleviated.” — Melissa Austin
8. “I cannot imagine what you are going though or feeling. You clearly have pain even if no one can see it. We need to find you a peer-to-peer support group to better complete your pain management program.” — Jory Pradjinski
9. “I promise I won’t let you feel like this forever.” — Sabrina Cannella
10. “I had this brilliant idea in the shower the other day… turns out it’s the cure!” — Cynthia Rhodes Alberson
11. “What my specialist said to me was just perfect: ‘No matter what, I’m not giving up on you. We will get through this somehow.’ It was so perfect that I cried.” — Selena Marie Wilson
12. “‘What is something I can do to make your life easier?’ Sometimes doctors get so focused on diagnoses, ‘cures,’ etc., they forget that in the meantime we have to keep living lives the best we can.” — Faith Merryn
13. “It’s covered by your insurance and there’s no copay.” — Kate Lynn
14. “My doctor actually said this to me: ‘I’m so ready to retire, but, you, I haven’t managed to fix you yet — my biggest regret.’ Best. Doctor. Ever.” — Claire McVeigh
15. “We figured it out and we have a plan.” — Taylor Elizabeth Stacy
16. “I see you have been working hard and I want you to know this is not your fault.” — Janae Preston
17. “I believe you. I don’t think you’re exaggerating or looking for drugs.” — Ryan M. Russell
18. “I will not stop until you are better.” — Diane Kelley
If you have chronic illness, what’s one thing you wish your doctor would say? Let us know in the comments.