”Asking for medical options never hurt anyone.” This is a common billboard throughout the country now.

I agree most definitely it is your body. Basic and paramount to this concept is to find out what is your diagnosis- what are the possibilities that caused your health to go awry.  Often early on the exact diagnosis is not differentiated. Doc’s may be uncomfortable to say that it is not perfectly clear what the problem is. A good Doc explains that and what the possibilities are (‘differential’)and how he/she is going to figure out what exactly is the issue. I always say when you go to a Doc a ‘snap shot’ of your health ‘movie’ is seen. Many medical conditions can cause similar symptoms (what you feel,-ex. nausea, pain) and signs( measurable abnormalities-ex. your numbers including blood tests). Until differentiated (made clear) to your Doc,  ‘work-ups’ are done or ‘wait and see’ is put into play. When wait and see is used there should be words of caution-what to watch for, when to come back, when to go to ER.

Realize for many  conditions there is often more than one course of treatment or approach-ex. drug, procedure. An individuals manner of presenting,  lifestyle (degree compromised), attitude to the condition can set the tone for the Doc doing more or less aggressive treatments.

If you are with me on this, I want to discuss when and how this should be done. It is not what you say but how you say it that makes all the difference. Doc’s are not perfect they have no crystal ball, nor any single test that decides matters. Even a positive pregnancy test can mean something other than actually having a fetus growing inside a women.

Timing is everything. Enlisting rather than challenging is the approach. It is wise to let your Doc finish speaking, but don’t let him/her leave you without you asking.  Asking what other sign or symptoms might you have if you had conditions in the differential, ask what other ways could the exact diagnosis be discovered, ask why did your Doc chose a treatment and are there other treatment options. The tone of this should not be confrontational nor testing. Your intent is not to put him/her under the lights just better understand if you have choices.

Remember if there are choices you are the best person to decide.