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10 Things I Wish I Knew On My Journey To A Sjogren’s Diagnosis

Welcome to The Sjogren's Roadmap Blog! If you're new here, we're thrilled to have you join us on this journey. Today, I want to share insights from my personal road to a Sjogren's diagnosis, shedding light on crucial aspects that could potentially expedite your own diagnostic journey.

If this is your first time visiting The Sjogren's Roadmap Blog, Welcome! We are so glad you found us!

My Journey To Getting A Sjogren's Diagnosis

Like many of you, my path to a Sjogren's diagnosis was characterized by its length and isolation. It took eight years of grappling with various symptoms before a rheumatologist finally identified Sjogren's as a contributing factor to my health challenges.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, waiting for answers and a diagnosis, you're not alone. It can be an immensely frustrating experience. If you're here, chances are a medical professional has hinted at the possibility of an autoimmune disease, possibly leading to a referral to a rheumatologist.

However, the wait times for these appointments can be prolonged, adding an extra layer of stress to the uncertainty.

Being a firm believer in the power of knowledge, I initiated The Sjogren's Roadmap Website and blog to help educate and inspire those navigating life with chronic illnesses.

To assist you on your diagnostic journey, I've compiled a list of ten essential things I wish I knew during my pursuit of a Sjogren's diagnosis:

1. Sjogren’s is a Systemic Autoimmune Disease

Understanding that Sjogren's is a systemic autoimmune disease is crucial. This means that the immune system can target various parts of the body, complicating the diagnostic process.

The systemic nature of the disease makes identification challenging for doctors, necessitating a comprehensive approach to diagnosis. Sjogren's patients often need a multi-disciplinary team to support them on the road to diagnosis and beyond.

2. Early Intervention is Key.

Recognizing that not every person exhibits systemic involvement initially is vital. Early detection allows for the implementation of a treatment plan, potentially achieving remission and preventing disease progression.

By addressing symptoms early, you empower yourself and your healthcare team to tailor a strategy that combats the disease's impact effectively.

3. Realistic Expectations for Remission.

Acknowledging that not everyone can achieve remission is a realistic perspective. Personal experiences may vary, and external factors can influence the course of the disease.

While remission is achievable for some, others may need to focus on managing symptoms and slowing disease progression, highlighting the importance of individualized treatment plans.

4. It Can Take Years To Get Diagnosed Properly.

Understanding that diagnosing Sjogren's can be a lengthy process due to its ability to mimic other conditions is crucial. The disease's impact on multiple body systems may lead to delays in identifying the root cause.

Medical professionals may not connect all the pieces without a comprehensive assessment, emphasizing the need for thorough evaluations that explore various symptoms.

5. It Can Take Years To Get A Diagnosis

Recognizing that the time it takes for a Sjogren's diagnosis can vary regionally is essential. In Canada, the average diagnosis timeframe is 5-9 years, while in the US, it takes around 3 years.

Campaigns to educate health professionals have contributed to shorter diagnostic timelines in recent years, highlighting the importance of awareness in expediting the diagnostic process.

6. Familial Links and Higher Risk.

Acknowledging that having a family member with a systemic autoimmune disease increases your risk prompts proactive monitoring of symptoms and bloodwork with your Primary Care Physician (PCP).

Working closely with your PCP allows for ongoing assessments and potentially early intervention if signs of autoimmune diseases emerge.

7. Speak Up! Advocate for Yourself.

Encouraging individuals to speak up if they suspect a rheumatic autoimmune disease is paramount. Requesting an ENA blood panel and a referral to a rheumatologist can be a proactive first step.

Empower yourself by actively participating in your healthcare journey. Clear communication with your PCP and advocating for specialized assessments can streamline the diagnostic process.

8. Specialist Wait Times Can Be Long.

Understanding that getting an appointment with a specialist can take several months is crucial. Factors such as location and healthcare system dynamics can contribute to extended wait times.

Utilizing resources like preparation worksheets can help you make the most of your limited time with a specialist, ensuring thorough discussions during appointments.

If you are looking for a worksheet to help you prepare for an upcoming appointment with your Rheumatologist, you can use this Free Worksheet to help you get prepared.

9. Request a Treatment Plan During the Wait.

Recognizing that waiting for a specialist appointment can be a period of uncertainty, encouraging individuals to seek a treatment plan from their PCP can provide relief for symptoms.

While awaiting a definitive diagnosis, symptom management is key. Working with your PCP ensures proactive measures to address discomfort and maintain overall well-being.

10. Harness the Power of Online Support Groups.

Emphasizing the value of online support groups for individuals navigating Sjogren's or similar diagnoses is crucial. These communities offer resources, information, and peer support.

Engaging with online support groups provides a sense of community, where individuals share experiences and strategies. Our support group for Sjogren's patients is one such platform, offering valuable insights and solidarity.

Want to connect with other Sjogren's patients and get support? You can check out our Facebook Sjogren's Support Group Here.


The path to an autoimmune disease diagnosis is often marked by challenges and solitude. This list aims to empower you with insights that could potentially expedite your diagnostic journey. We hope that by understanding the complexities and being proactive in your healthcare, you can navigate this road more efficiently.

Remember, resources like our online support group for Sjogren's patients serve as valuable tools for peer-to-peer support, ensuring you're not alone in your journey. We invite you to join our community, share your story, and connect with others who understand the intricacies of living with Sjogren's disease.

Your journey matters, and together, we can support each other towards a brighter and healthier future. Stop by and say hi – we'd love to meet you!

Wishing you Health and Happiness,




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