Author: Karolina Mori
Karolina Mori graduated with a B.A. in Global Studies/Journalism and is currently doing a post-bacc at UCLA. She works for the U.S. Air Force as an admin. Prior to COVID she volunteered at my community hospital at the visitor's center. On her free time she enjoys hiking with her dogs, skiing, and, prior to COVID, travelling.
I listened in on Dr. Tran’s shadowing session due to my interest in dermatology. My interest in the field began when I was a dermatology patient. When I was 16-17 years old became incredibly sick. What started out as a mere fever escalated into a rash covering my legs and parts of my arms and chest. The rash was unbearable. The inside of my skin felt like it was on fire; burning while still feeling itchy. My legs were swollen, immobilizing me from even walking. Half of my junior year in high school was spent bouncing around from dermatologist to dermatologist and two overnight hospital stays. At a certain point, I was told that if the swelling and rash covered my entire chest I could have died. I did not know what was happening to me, and that’s what terrified me. I didn’t understand why I got this uncontrollable rash and if it would go away. During one of my overnight stays, one doctor came into my room and began talking to me about how I felt, what my interests were, about the school, friends and answered any questions/fears I had about my current health condition. She made me feel more than just a patient, she made me feel like a normal teenage girl. For a brief moment, I forgot about my condition and felt at ease. After several months the mysterious rash and swelling began to subside. I was able to walk by myself and attend school again!
I am someone who had a skin ailment that made me feel weak and insecure. Not being properly diagnosed and treated increased my fears of chronic illness and even death. However, listening to Dr. Tran speak with passion about the path he has chosen and how he understands the insecurity a patient feels having something on their outward appearance that isn’t pleasing to look at reminded me of my doctor. It is not only the physical and biochemical symptoms of the disease that causes pain, dealing with outward symptoms and being seen as sickly is also a painful experience. Dr. Tran’s shadowing session has strengthened my interest to pursue a career in dermatology. I hope to make patients feel welcomed and heard when I’m a dermatologist one day!