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With technology at our fingertips, it is easy to over-research, find false medical information, and even find yourself playing doctor with self diagnoses.

Something to keep in mind is that practicing medicine is really a lot of guessing — this is not to say that doctors don’t know what they are prescribing or diagnosing. Everyone’s body is different and there are always exceptions to medical theories. So it is important that you understand all of these exceptions to the norm (especially when you frequently become that 1% of people…like me) and learn about your medical diagnosis before making decisions that can effect your life.

One thing I like to do when my doctor suggests a treatment option or diagnostic test is I research it. But it is important to not just Google search it and start self diagnosing. There are a lot of “quacks” out there on the internet, so not everything you will read is necessarily true. Finding medical opinions that are backed by studies is probably the best bet when researching. But even after you have read what you can (and probably jumped to the worst case scenerio), talk to your doctor about what you have researched so he can make it even more clear to you and answer your questions or doubts.

I learned this week how important it is to find a doctor you can trust, who will answer your questions no matter how silly, and who won’t stop fighting for you to be well. My saving grace of the past two years since my RA diagnosis has been Dr. Michael Powell, a Stanford-taught rheumatologist in Sacramento, who answers my question-filled emails at 9pm at night to assure me we are on the right track. Slowly, but surely, I have been improving — by leveling my thyroid deficiency, normalizing my vitamin D levels, nearly curing my food allergies, and getting my joint pain under control so I can start living again. By keeping on this track, together with my doctor, I am positive I can reach my goal of remission.

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