Monday, November 25, 2013

Am I Cheating On My Rheumatologist?

Well, since my next question is which one, I guess that answers my question.

So here’s the thing.

I have an appointment in August with my rheumatologist back in Michigan.  We made it for a year after my last appointment with him, at his suggestion.

But now I am seeing my new rheumatologist.

But the other day my old rheumatologist’s office left me a message that my lab work is due.  The last time it was due, I happened to have just had an appointment with my new primary care doctor, so I forwarded those results to my old rheumatologist. 

But now I don’t know what to do.  I am not sure where I would even go to get the labs done, and my latest labs from my new rheumatologist don’t include the labs that my old rheumatologist wants.

Is anyone else exhausted?  I’m exhausted.  This is an exhausting situation. 

I have a soft spot in my heart for my old rheumatologist because he was the one who diagnosed me.  We’ve been through a lot together.  He’s the longest “relationship” that I’ve ever been in with a member of the opposite sex.

But my new rheumatologist is a breath of fresh air.  She is young.  She is thorough.  She believes that prednisone is not a long term solution. 

So I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I feel slightly selfish that I am dangling myself in front of not just one rheumatologist, but two. 

My old rheumatologist didn’t just want to cut me loose, and wanted me to have the ability to see him again if I needed to.  But I guess I forgot the responsibility that comes with it, which is blood work every two or three months. 

I don’t even know how to broach the subject with my new rheumatologist.  Hey, could you order these labs that my old rheumatologist wants?  Awkward!

So do I cancel my August appointment with my old rheumatologist and effectively cut the cord? 

Or do I try and keep up the charade in the hope that no one will notice?

This is a tricky situation because of the fact that I moved, and that’s the reason I needed to find a new rheumatologist, not because I was doctor shopping for a new rheumatologist for the sake of it. 
It’s amazing how tied and beholden to we can feel to our medical team. 

I guess that’s why it’s so hard to let go.


  1. Seems obvious to me, L. Although you like your old rheumatologist a lot, you're no longer living near his office--in fact, you've moved pretty far away. And because of that, you're now being treated by a new rheumatologist where you live. So unless you plan to travel to Michigan every other month or so for labs and appointments, you'll just have to cancel the labs for your old rheumy and move on. How about sending him a copy of your local lab results when you get them, so he can stay apprised and you can maintain the relationship? I'm sure he'd understand that since you moved to NYC... well. You know. ;)

  2. In Auguest?? I'd say you can delay the decision. ;)

    If you're not feeling up to making the decision now, reschedule for the new year.

  3. The reminder about the labs sounds like one of those auto reminders. I assume your old rheumy expected you to want and need a rheumatologist that's local to you for the regular care. I think if you'll be back in Michigan in August and your insurance will cover it, it's totally worth going in for an office visit and letting him know what your current doc is doing and thinking. It's not cheating!

  4. Hey Leslie,

    I think that a couple months ago, I left a comment asking you whether it was a common occurrence for RA patients to have issues with a new rheumatologist. With this type of relationship, I'd say that you aren't cheating. As others have already remarked, you are living in a new place now and it would be tough to go back to Michigan for that lab work every few months. It may be somewhat awkward, but I'd definitely be open about the whole situation with your new rheumatologist-- she sounds like she'd be quite helpful.