2 posts tagged “patient friendships”

Finding Peace, Confidence and Lifelong Friends: An Interview with Psoriasis Patient Erica

Posted March 27th, 2013 by

Of all the psoriasis patients we’ve interviewed, Erica was hit by this highly stigmatized autoimmune condition the earliest – she developed visible symptoms at the tender age of 9.  Now 21, she shares her decade-plus journey from being the girl that people avoided in school to an increasingly confident young woman who has finally started meeting others like her, people who are also living with the daily challenges of psoriasis.  What difference has that made for her?  And how has she started to take control of her treatment course as of late?  Find out that and much more in this inspiring interview.

Erica Psoriasis Patient CROPPED

1. Tell us how you were treated by classmates and school nurses growing up.  

The first few years were the hardest, trying to understand the disease and how it affected me. It was hard to explain to others, since they didn’t really want to listen. Most of my classmates avoided me because they were afraid they would catch it, no matter how many times I would explain it they never believed me. I was sent to the nurse a lot because I’d scratch my head or my arms till they bled. The nurses never wanted to deal with it so they sent me home. Now that I’m older and can explain it better, I don’t have as many problems. If someone stares at my skin, I simply tell them it’s psoriasis and it’s not contagious. But the hardest thing I had to go through was people avoiding physical contact with me.

2. How important is it to find the right dermatologist? You’ve said yours is like a second mother.

I’ve known Dr. Clifton since I was 13 years old, and I’m 21 now. It’s very important to have that great relationship with your doctor. They need to know every single little detail of your life when you have a serious disease such as psoriasis, as so many things can cause it to get worse or better and can react with the medications. You need to know that they will listen to you and take the time you need. You also need to trust them with your life. The last time I saw Dr. Clifton after three years, I had changed, however, and I didn’t agree with the treatment course she wanted to do. I respect her advice but I don’t agree with her [at this point], so therefore I’ve decided I want to find a different dermatologist.

3. What’s helped you develop the confidence and love of life you have now?

I still have days where I feel depressed but I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing supportive people in my life. God is the main reason I overcame the depression. I pray a lot! I also read my Bible, listen to Christian music (Skillet is my favorite band!), talk to someone and change my way of thinking. When I feel sad or upset I’ll look up Skillet on the laptop and just play it as loud as I can and just breathe. I always feel better after that. I go to an amazing church that has some awesome people in it. I know I can call or text any of them any time and they will be there for me. If I’m focusing on the bad, I try to look at the bright side of things and that seems to help as well. But praying is by far the thing that makes me feel best and at peace.

4. What’s it been like to connect with other psoriasis patients at PatientsLikeMe

Growing up with psoriasis, and having no one else around with it, was extremely hard. I had no one to connect with. But since being on the site, I’ve made some great connections and have made some lifelong friends. The strange thing is how much we have in common and how many of the same things we’ve been through. What’s awesome is being able to tell someone what’s going on with my skin and they really understand because they’ve been through the same thing. In the past nine months, I’ve also met a lot of people in person with psoriasis and I’m always telling them about this site!


What Patients Are Thankful For

Posted November 23rd, 2011 by

Thanksgiving is a time for remembering all the reasons you have to be grateful.  For patients who face numerous health challenges, this can mean reminding yourself of all the things you have gained – not lost – since your diagnosis.

A Snapshot of PatientsLikeMe Members

One theme that we’re especially proud to hear our 120,000+ members express is how thankful they are to have found a community of people who truly “get” them at PatientsLikeMe.  Our founders envisioned a way to connect patients with others just like them – so they could learn from each other, support each other and help accelerate the pace of medical research – and today, it’s become a reality.  Touchingly, it’s also been the start of many important friendships among our members.

Here are some patient stories that moved us this year:

  • “The people on this site deserve more than a simple thank you from me.  The night I found PatientsLikeMe was about eight hours after my neurologists had told me, ‘You have non tremor Parkinson’s disease.’ That night I had some stinking thinking going on.  I considered myself a freak.  Thanks to this site I now consider myself unique.  We are all unique. To my Parkinson’s brothers and sisters, a big THANK YOU for helping me get away from my stinking thinking.”  – Patient with Parkinson’s disease
  • “This is the place where we can wonder what is next, cry about what is now and rant about how unfair it all is to us.  Here we are among friends and patients just like us who know have been there or will be going there. It is so much better for me to be on PatientsLikeMe then to just rant to my family and boyfriend.  I figure we can all listen to someone’s rant as tomorrow it may be us.” – Patient with ALS
  • “I called one of our members for the first time.  We were on the phone for over three hours!  Every connection I’ve made here that has progressed to the phone call stage has been like that.  This is the best, most fun, most supportive group of guys and gals that I think I have ever come across.  At PatientsLikeMe, we may all come from different walks of life, different locations and yes sometimes different opinions, but here we share such a unique and caring bond.  I’m so lucky to have found PatientsLikeMe.” – Patient with fibromyalgia
  • “I have found that I am better able to deal with my moods now that I am able to relate to others with the same/similar problems. It helps to rant. It helps to talk with people who understand. PatientsLikeMe has helped me to understand myself better too. YAY. I love PatientsLikeMe.” – Patient with bipolar II disorder
  • “In large part, my success at escaping that life of depravity, depression and addiction is due to the sense of belonging I found at PatientsLikeMe. I was encouraged, and loved and, yes, even put in my place a few times. Even though my path has been neither straight nor smooth I feel that I have my friends on PatientsLikeMe to thank for the sunlight in my life.” – Patient with HIV

No one should have to go through the experience of chronic illness alone.  If you’ve already realized you’re not alone in your journey, we give thanks for you…and every patient like you.

Happy Thanksgiving!