The Difficulty of Reporting Minor Symptoms--Part III

Recent posts outlined some of the many reasons patients may experience conflict and distress when deciding whether to call about minor symptoms. What's a Healthy Survivor to do? 

Compared to severe symptoms, it's harder to know the proper time to report minor symptoms. The key is open communication with your physicians. Let them know...

  • about your symptom
  • your concerns or fears
  • why you want to--or must--delay evaluation 

This way, you can make an informed decision about when you get the symptom evaluated, and you won't look back with regret. And, you can discuss options for dealing with emotional, logistical or financial obstacles. 

If you see yourself delaying despite knowing you should report a minor symptom, try...

  • Listing (aloud or on paper) the reasons you feel the urge to delay
  • Acknowledging the impossibility of predicting what an evaluation will show 
  • Talking with a friend or family member to help you make an informed decision 
  • Thinking about what you'd want a loved one to do in your situation
  • Reminding yourself: "More than I don't want a false alarm, I don't want to miss the chance to improve my outcome."

In my pursuit of Healthy Survivorship, one way through decisional conflict is by renewing my vow to take proper action, no matter how I feel about doing so. And, I make it easier for my physicians to address my concerns with compassion by telling them up front if I'm ambivalent or embarrassed about reporting a minor symptom. Healthy Survivorship is a team effort. 

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