Who’s who on my health care team

I was lucky to be in the hands of a neurologist specializing in MS from the start. It saved me time and reassured me that my health was supervised by a doctor who knew my disease and could guide me accordingly, answer all my questions and ensure that I was on the best pain-modifying treatment. possible disease.

My neurologist, Adnan Subei, DO, Medical Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program at Memorial Neuroscience Institute, leads my care plan. He tracks the progression of my multiple sclerosis, tests my walking and arm coordination, checks my eyes, monitors my cognitive abilities, and orders my MRIs and medications to manage my various symptoms. He stays informed of all the medications, therapies, tests, and even mobility devices ordered for me by other physicians on my care team, staying connected through Memorial Regional Hospital’s MyChart system.

Dr. Subei was not available to come and visit me when I was hospitalized, but the other doctors told me that he reviewed my file and left a thorough analysis of my case and confirmed my prognosis. I knew right away that I was in good hands. He clearly understands the full scope of multiple sclerosis and keeps abreast of new therapies, research and clinical trials.

Since the beginning, he has always listened to me and answered all my concerns during each visit. He is always very accessible, just an email or a phone call away. Above all, I never felt like anything was forced on me because he listens to me and validates my opinion. I am part of the decision-making process when it comes to my care, which makes me feel comfortable. Dr. Subei has a lot of experience with MS patients, so I trust his judgment with my eyes closed.

When I met him, my body was so weak. He explained to me the ins and outs of multiple sclerosis and what to expect. He showed me all my lesions, especially that “bad boy” on my cervical spine, responsible for all the trouble. Then we discussed treatment options and continued with the authorization process. Over the years, he referred me to physicians in other disciplines who he believed could help me manage my symptoms as they developed.

I don’t want to brag, but the medical services in Florida are excellent. Health care systems are known for their professional staff and services. There are several neurologists who specialize in MS in different parts of the state and many neurologists who have extensive experience in treating MS patients. There’s even the reputable Mayo Clinic multiple sclerosis program in Jacksonville.

Then there is my physiatrist, Janice Cohen, MD, from the Office of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Memorial Rehabilitation Institute. She is responsible for meticulously assessing my physical condition. She assesses my gait, my spasticity, my atrophy, etc. Thanks to her, I have all the mobility devices and walking aids that I have needed over the years. Plus, she ordered rounds and rounds of physical and occupational therapy, just so I could maintain the functions I still have, before MS took over.

Her incredible knowledge of the human body puts me very at ease and reassures me that I am well taken care of. She fully understands the complexity of all the mechanisms and components involved in the movement of each part of the body. Even when we have telehealth appointments, it’s just surreal to me that she understands exactly what I mean when I explain things to her, just because she has this “pattern” in her head of human physiology.

Now, integrative medicine has played a big part in my recovery and healing process – from vitamin supplements and nutrition to exercise and mindfulness. Ashwin Mehta, MD, Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Memorial Healthcare System, had recently been hired when I had my first bedridden MS attack. I call him my doctor “guru”. I first met him a few weeks after he was released from the hospital. He taught me a lot about how health and diet are linked, how to reduce inflammation and how to take care of yourself.

He is one of the best additions to my medical team, if not the best. I feel like every time I visit him, I’m back on track and in charge of my health because he gives me the tools I need to stay on track. He is a great listener, and so knowledgeable. There’s nothing he doesn’t know the answer to. He is up to date on alternative therapies and holistic medicine. He guided me, as I physically declined, on how to approach exercise from a different perspective and stay active regardless of my limitations. Additionally, he helped me with stress management techniques like meditation and acupuncture.

About a year ago I changed GPs and met Nga Nguyen, MD. She is responsible for my overall health, monitoring all my levels: cholesterol and triglycerides, liver enzymes, red blood cells and lymphocyte count. Managing MS symptoms requires taking strong medications that can affect other organs and cause other medical conditions that we must avoid at all costs. This is why it is so important to have my annual checkup with Dr. Nguyen. We are constantly in touch, and in case something happens, I contact her immediately.

Finally, the pillars of my recovery, my therapists at the Memorial Rehabilitation Institute. This group has been by my side every step of the way. From day one, they have been there for me. I started with occupational therapy because I lost control of my right hand. Then I continued with physical therapy, and so far it’s been almost 7 years of continuous therapy. I made some wonderful friends at this center. They saw me at my worst, but never gave up on me. Always with a smile and nothing but positive vibes, making me feel understood, even when I’m not.

I’ve worked with all the therapists at the rehab center, so at this point I feel like they’re part of the family. Everyone knows me there and they make me feel welcome. I will be forever grateful to have these loving, caring and dedicated people in my life. I would never have come back from my ashes like I did if it wasn’t for them.

All of these wonderful people I mentioned have been instrumental in my MS journey. I had the privilege of being treated by them and learning from them as well. I have become an “expert” at reading my body and identifying potential triggers, anticipating and effectively managing symptoms, and avoiding putting myself in situations that I will pay the price for later. Everything, because of them. The advice from each of them resonates in my head in everything I do.

When we choose our medical team, the people in the hands of our health, we must do so wisely. If you’re not feeling well, you probably aren’t. Sometimes MS deteriorates us faster than we can keep up and we can’t afford to waste time going around in circles. That’s why it’s essential to be your best advocate and have the best team of doctors on your side.

The variety of MS symptoms is so vast that it may be necessary to see more than one specialist at a time. So global support handled by the best of the best, modesty aside, was the only thing I could settle for. All of my doctors are part of the Memorial Healthcare System; therefore, they all have access to my medical records and they can read other people’s notes and add their own as needed. It makes everything easier for me as a patient, keeping everything in one place.

So who’s who on my healthcare team? They are the energy that keeps me going. They are the force behind every little battle I win against MS. They are the force that empowers me. Light in the dark, support when my world is falling apart.

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Photo credit: Cecilie_Arcurs / E+ via Getty Images

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