Be Proactive with Your MS!

Cathy Health Guide
  • My recent physical with my neurologist was unsatisfactory. He did not give me a chance to finish reading the short list of complaints I had compiled.  Sitting at his desk while taking notes, he never put his pen down to glance over at me, even after my voice nearly cracked trying to hold back my tears.   He sailed through my exam like a child reciting a poem in school – quickly, accurately and lacking emotion.  It was unacceptable.


    He performed tests typically performed on MS patients to check gait, balance and coordination.  He did not time my walking.  He did not check my vision or my reflexes.  He never even ask me how I was feeling.  

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    I had stopped going to my neurologist of 22 years because my last exam with her was also unsatisfactory, and because I wanted someone closer to home.  My new neurologist had been highly recommended by several trusted sources.  He also particularly liked the disease-modifying medication I had been taking.  After going to him for my initial exam, he seemed distant yet capable.  Okay, I had doctors with zero personality yet were highly skilled.  The second time I went to him he hardly noticed I was in the same room.  This third time was the same.  This was not a good fit.


    I have been taking two medications for symptoms that I felt were no long working.  When I began to have breakthrough partial-complex seizures and was not able to fall asleep at night, I knew I had to go see my doctor.  After telling him about the first item on my list, bouts of dizziness, he suddenly declared he was scheduling an EEG for me, and to have a good day!  When I tried to tell him I wasn’t finished with my list, he stood up and quickly breezed out of the room.  I was so flustered I stood there in silence, and then walked out of the office.  Once outside I became angry with myself. After all my years of experience with MS, and of helping others with MS, I knew better than to let him slip away without listening to me.  Patients all deserve respect from their physicians.  I was ashamed for not practicing what I always preach.  Be proactive and don’t stop until you find your answers!


    Doctors and their patients should be like old comfortable shoes.  A good fit, and someone you can always depend on for comfort and healing.


    What I want to say to all of you is this:  If you think a medication is not working, speak to your doctor.  If you aren’t satisfied with the answers you are getting, seek another qualified neurologist.  Always be proactive about your MS, and always go with your instincts - they are your best guide.  After all, your doctor is part of your team, the one that you decide to put together.  This is a team that is all about you!


Published On: November 07, 2011