How can I Prepare for my Visit?

So, you’ve finally scheduled an appointment with an ichthyosis medical specialist, but have no idea as to how to prepare? No worries, our physicians will guide you step-by-step on how to have the most effective visit possible. At the FIRST National Family Conference in Indianapolis Drs. Keith Choate and Philip Fleckman anwered that very same question. Below is a summary of what they shared regarding best practices for preparing to meet with an ichthyosis specialist:

  • Educate yourself as much as possible beforehand. The FIRST website is a wonderful resource with abundant information on both the clinical and emotional aspects of many types of ichthyosis and related skin types.
  • Leave any preconceptions at home.  Be open-minded and remember this is a learning experience.
  • Bring the affected person to the visit only and leave the rest of the family at home, if possible. This will help with concentration and focus, and ensure that you cover all your areas of concern. The more relaxed you can remain, the more effective the visit will be.
  • Discuss the situation with your spouse or other family members who will not be at the doctor visit. Write a list of their questions, as well as your own, and bring it with you.
  • Write a summary, journaling what your experience has been since you or your child was diagnosed. Reach out to the doctor before the first visit, by either mailing, emailing or discussing it with them over the phone. Let them know the exact genetic diagnosis if you have that information, symptoms, concerns, and specifically how ichthyosis is affecting your lifestyle. Writing it down may also take some of the emotion out of the story, so you can remain focused, and also help the doctor to better prepare for the visit.
  • Bring all blood test results, physician reports, photographs, etc. – anything that has been medically recorded. Bring all blood test results, physician reports, photographs, skin biopsy reports and the slides, any paperwork containing the genetic diagnosis, etc. -anything that has been medically recorded.
  • Always remember there is a difference in what you read on the Internet, and what the average experience might be. Many times the Internet is filled with “worst case scenario” stories. At your visit, discuss the things that you have seen or heard that may be scary or alarming. Your doctor will be able to discern medical fact from hype and sensationalism, and provide more supportive stories, people and resources.

Most importantly, don’t hold back on discussing anything that comes to mind, particularly issues that have made you uncomfortable. This visit is an opportunity to educate yourself and to give yourself peace of mind.

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