Six weeks before finishing her residency in internal medicine, Summer started experiencing bizarre neurological symptoms in her left leg. Instead of focusing on becoming a doctor she suddenly became the patient, searching for answers to her mysterious symptoms. Summer was initially misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis, learning years later that she actually has a rare disease called neuromyelitis optica, or NMO. This is a central nervous system disorder primarily affecting the optic nerve and spinal cord.
In episode 18 of the Major Pain podcast, Summer shares what her life is like with NMO. From crowd surfing in a wheelchair to working as a primary care physician, she shares the ways in which her life has been fulfilling and joyful since adapting to her diagnosis. She also provides a uniquely valuable perspective as a doctor with a chronic illness, offering advice for how patients can effectively communicate complex information to their own physicians.