I had a message from one of my patients to contact her as she started “panicking” when she read the latest report on her MRI scan.
This is a young, clever, and intelligent lady whom I knew for long time. Despite of her diagnosis of MS(multiple sclerosis) for more than 15 years, and in spite of her knowing that her MS is on the aggressive side, and that she is on one of the highly effective treatments with a possible long term complications; she remained positive, motivated, and very optimistic. She is pleasant, realistic, and obviously very clever to react that way. She found her strong will power and positive optimistic attitudes have helped her a lot to manage her MS over the years and to keep it very nicely controlled allowing her to remain independent and socially active.
I managed to speak to her this morning and listened carefully to her expressing her concerns. She mentioned the phrase ” Her latest MRI scan showed extensive severe disease in periventricular and
subcortical locations of both hemispheres”, and that those words of “severe” and “extensive” made her panicking !!.
I told her in a very friendly and nice way that the expression was just conveying the radiology professional report to her doctor and between us specialists in this field to be on spot. All of the changes were fully explained to her and she was obviously reassured and her questions were fully answered. She felt relaxed, and naturally was happy with the explanations and she appreciated the phone call and the calming effect.
After her calming down and reassuring, she felt happier and returned back to her nice personality and relaxed mood. She joked about me saying to her that the letter was meant doctors, and she only had a copy for information. She commented: so for doctors to panic about it !!. I smiled and told her that: doctors never panic about things. Doctors take things seriously, but never panic about them. I then added in a very friendly and joking way: doctors never panic about things, they just take them seriously and act accordingly in a very professional manners and a relaxed mood. A panicking doctor is not a good doctor, and experienced, professional people never panic. I have then finished my re-assuring and explaining call to her by saying “jokingly”: MS is your illness, but not your worrying matter. Once your care is with us, it is “us” who will “worry” about it and manage it for you. We are here to look after you and for you to just enjoy your life and dream for a good future. She obviously has then returned to her calm and relaxed nature, and was back to her normal. She was wished a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !.