Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Make an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner if you or your child has signs and symptoms that worry you. If your doctor suspects acute lymphocytic leukemia, you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating diseases and conditions of the blood and bone marrow (hematologist).

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from the doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For acute lymphocytic leukemia, some basic questions to ask the doctor include:

  • What is likely causing these symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes for these symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests are necessary?
  • Is this condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • How can other existing health conditions be best managed with ALL?
  • Are there any restrictions that need to be followed?
  • Is it necessary to see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.

What to expect from the doctor

The doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did symptoms begin?
  • Have these symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are these symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve these symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen these symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

Avoid activity that seems to worsen any signs and symptoms. For instance, if you or your child is feeling fatigued, allow for more rest. Determine which of the day's activities are most important, and focus on accomplishing those tasks.

Sep. 15, 2012

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