Friday, February 24, 2017


I was lurking in a PMG Pathology thread the other day - they were talking about how they scored on the Myers Briggs personality scale. Many pathologists are INTJ's. I was a psych major, I took that test over 20 years ago, I'll never forget my type. INFJ. But I forgot what it meant, so I googled it today over lunch.

I found out I am a rare and complex personality type, shared by Eleanor Roosevelt. Gandhi. Umm, Nicole Kidman. Piers Morgan? Them's fighting words. Reading about who you are, based on a personality test, is indulgent. The ego is a necessary evil of human existence. Watering it seems trite, but is nevertheless satisfying. There are entire books, I learned, on Myers Briggs personality types, but a quick scour of the internet was enough for me. My ego is fine. Overly indulged last summer - like someone took my ego's mouth to a fire hose.

There are days when you are tasked to challenge your nature. Today was one of those. I had to show humility to a clinician I had unintentionally misled on a frozen. Separately, I had to (gulp, cough, spit) ask for help, something that is akin to torture for me. The volumes of challenging cases I had on call this week, some of which I hope to resolve tomorrow, set records in my ten years of practice.

I reminded my daughter today while I was carpooling her to her church retreat weekend that when we are faced with obstacles that seem insurmountable, ones that we hope to but cannot control, it's happening for a reason. Kind of like destiny. The challenges we face are tests to our ego, lessons that need to be learned. If you are impatient, there will be a test to challenge your patience. If you are overly confident, a missed call will humble you. If you think your diagnoses can help a clinician, there will be a difficult case that will stymie you and the patient will go downhill no matter what the morphology shows you. A blow to the ego necessitates a surrender to the divine. You duck and shield, you stand up, and you move forward. Experience, including mistakes, begets fresh revelation.

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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