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During our Thanksgiving trek across the Southwest I spent some time with my good friend and author Wil. Wil is not only a smart, funny, and witty guy but he is also a good friend who is always willing to help.

As we met I talked a lot about the endo I was seeing was driving me a little nuts. I told him how I was told not to make changes to my pump settings on my own. How they have me coming in every 2 weeks. And how annoying it is that EVERY time I go in they ask me the same 200 questions like, “when do you wake up,” and “how do you feel when your blood sugar is below 70?”

Wil said something to me that has been clanging around between my ears since. He said, “Let me ask you a question. Do you need to see an endocrinologist regularly?”

This struck me. Do I? I mean, why do I go? If my doctor would write up my prescriptions, order lab work quarterly, and have at least some understanding about diabetes than couldn’t a regular doctor be enough? If there was something extra I needed I could go see an endo at that point.

I let it simmer in my noggin for a while even as I kept going in to the same endo. Every two weeks the same questions. And there was my favorite statement, “Wow you must really need insulin!” That came up when there was a spike of my bg when my pump ran out and I forgot to refill it.

Fast forward to a week or two ago. I get a call from someone who I swear one the lottery. “George, it’s Jaimie. I had to call you and I am crying but I had to. George I just saw the most awesome doctor and you have to see him. He spent two hours with me and told me that he does not treat people like A1C’s and numbers but as people. And he is LADA and on a pump! I can’t stop crying but I had to call you. You have to see him!!!”

I listened to the message again. Hearing her excitement was infectious. Could a doctor really be that awesome? Having a doctor who is actually on a pump would be awesome right? I mean, he would get stuff that other doctor can’t. It’s like having a member of the OC as your doctor.

So I made an appointment. He is not very close to me but the way I see it is, “it’s worth the drive if it keeps me alive.” How’s that for a bumper sticker?

So very soon I will let you all know how my appointment goes. I am excited, nervous, curious, and a little scared. Am I ready to start all over and with someone not so close to my home?

I called Jaimie to let her know that I made the appointment and we talked more about her experience. She says he spoke to her about the emotional health of his patients with diabetes and how if they are not mentally prepared to attempt to Tame the Tiger than it will be impossible. He talked to her a lot about the mental aspects of diabetes and the need for good mental health besides physical. I thought that was awesome and made me even more excited.

The thing is, he is not an endo. He is a general practitioner with a focus on diabetes. A diabetesologist if you will. The fact is that a lot of the information I have learned about diabetes has come from the OC. Not an endo. Who’s to say better care for me could come from a regular doctor instead of an endo? It makes sense. I know the questions to ask and the things to ask about. The OC keeps me up to date with new stuff to ask about. I think this will work for me. Do you just see a general practitioner? I would love your thoughts.

But for me, I am going CommandEndo. 

Reader Comments (9)

George! I don't go to an endo either!!

You can totally do this. My "endo" for the last few years has been an internist, or an internist's P.A. The P.A. I see now has other patients with type 1, and pumps, and she's totally open to my input and decisions. She knows that I know what I'm doing, but she's also ready to help and give input where it might be needed.

Changing from an endo I dreaded seeing (and who, ultimately did me no good mentally) to an internist I actually LOOK FORWARD to seeing made a huge difference in how I viewed taking care of myself.

I hope it's just as magical for you. :)

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I haven't seen an endo in about 7 years...I see general practitioners and insist on what I need and go from there. I see one in April because other doctors aren't in the know about diabetes and it's tiring to explain to them why I test more than 4 times a day. I"m scared and nervous this endo will be like the one that made me stop going to endocrinology. But, I gotta keep trying to find the right doc for me.

I hope this one is the right one for you.

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSysy Morales

Good luck!!

I am also considering making the jump from the endo to a general internal medicine doc with enough knowledge about diabetes (and thyroid issues). I feel I know enough now and that my appointments with the endo seem to be a waste of time (and the extra co-pay).

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I hope your appointment is amazing! If this doctor can get it done, and empower you...what else do you need? Endo or no Endo, having a doctor that "gets it" is HUGE!

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeri

The strange part is, I don't feel as if I really NEED to see an endo except to have my Rx's filled (and I suppose a general doctor could fill that role just as easily), but the rest is kind of unnecessary stuff. Fortunately, my endo is pretty cool (I left one that I was seeing that was too tightly wound from my perspective), and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. However, there is no rule when it comes to medicine that you must see an endo, so if you have found a doctor who you like and can do what you need, my opinion (if it's worth anything) is that you should do it. Hope that helps!

February 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterScott S

George! This is very exciting to me! I think it sounds like a great match for you. I can't wait to hear more about him. :-)

February 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterScott K. Johnson

Oh Yeah - that would make a GREAT bumper sticker! :-)

February 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterScott K. Johnson

I'm totally psyched for you, my friend! This is awesome :) I can't wait to hear all about it...and I say...pffft...endo-schmendo if he isn't getting the job done.

YOU are more than "just another patient with diabetes". YOU are THE NINJABETIC...and you deserve a doc that gets that :)

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

My personal rule about endos is, if I'm leaving the appointment downtrodden or annoyed instead of energized, it's time to find a new endo. For me, part of the endo visit is a recommitment to good habits, and that's not going to happen if I'm feeling negative about things.

I think the only danger about GPs is that many of them claim to treat diabetes but don't do things like look at your feet or look for signs of other autoimmune diseases or keep up with new research and treatments. But a recommendation from a friend would be good enough for me.

February 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermollyjade

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