Residency training is an intense time for young doctors. The sheer amount of technical, pharmaceutical and physiology information you are expected to learn is overwhelming. It is not just numbers and equations that weigh heavy, but the interpersonal aspects of the training. The so-called “art of medicine.” Integral to this training is the “giving of bad news.” Some conditions are worse than others, but regardless of what you are about to disclose, telling someone they have a condition that will alter the course of their life, like lupus, is never easy.
In Rheumatology, few of the conditions we treat are temporary. We become such a part of our patient’s lives because their condition requires continued contact over years. Lupus falls squarely in this category and for this reason I have never taken it lightly. Many with lupus are young adults, beginning families and careers. Being told their future will likely not look the way they had imagined is devastating. I certainly haven’t handled every discussion with the grace and compassion it deserved and I have definitely learned along the way the concerns that are most pressing for people when they first learn of their lupus diagnosis.
Knowledge is Power and Peace
A new diagnosis of lupus is a lot and it is easy to get overwhelmed. I am well aware that only a small percentage of what we initially discuss is remembered and that questions don’t usually come up during the first few visits. The video above is the first part of a 2 part series of the Top 10 things I think every lupus patient should know. Whether you were just diagnosed or have had lupus for years, there may be things on this list you didn’t fully understand and I hope this information can spark a conversation between you and your doctor. Patients aren’t the only ones that can benefit from this information either! The loved ones of Lupus Warriors can show their support by educating themselves.
Please make sure to watch the video above, take notes and ask questions. The items discussed are:
- Lupus is a systemic autoimmune condition that leads to uncontrolled inflammation in multiple organs.
- Lupus is a chronic condition for which there is currently no cure.
- Every lupus patient is different. Their symptoms are different and what medications (or combination of medications) they need will be unique to them.
- Lupus is a condition of flares & remissions. Treating and preventing flares is the name of the game.
- Flares are to be avoided and our treatment is focused on this goal.
May is Lupus Awareness Month and I’m so proud to know and care for all the lupus patients I’ve seen.. The strength, courage and resilience they have shown is a constant source of inspiration. If you have anyone with lupus in your life, please let them know you are there for them in whatever way they need, maybe just starting with a little education.
As always, in good health,