I was diagnosed with lupus in 2013 and it was devastating for me. I was very depressed at the time and felt alone despite having a strong support team in my life. In 2015, my friend who was a patient at HSS referred me to the LupusLine® Program. I called LupusLine® and was greeted by Priscilla Toral, a wonderful Social Worker that has really supported me during my lupus journey. Priscilla and LupusLine® not only provided emotional support, but also helped me to understand my lupus symptoms. I initially contacted the program for help improving my communication with my rheumatologist at the time to obtain the support I needed. Priscilla and I started out speaking on the phone once a week and she helped encourage me to be more open with my doctor, create a list of questions in advance and understand the importance of my voice in the medical visit. After several months of calls with LupusLine®, I felt more confident to speak up about my concerns. I remember the sense of pride I felt after expressing long-term concerns to my rheumatologist regarding my treatment plan. Speaking up and putting all the new strategies I learned, has really made all the difference.
I continued to stay in touch with Priscilla, who has offered me guidance and support throughout the years. I finally made the decision to transfer my care to a new rheumatologist who was a better match for me. It was the best decision I ever made for my health. My lupus and overall health has taken a turn for the better. I am finally more involved in making decisions about my care and am now on a treatment plan that helped to reduce my many emergency room visits and flares. My first rheumatologist at HSS was so caring, respectful and I felt she really listened to my lupus concerns. Dr. Ghosh, my current rheumatologist has helped me control my lupus symptoms. She is always open to my questions about my medication and treatment plan. Dr. Ghosh calls me with my lab work results and any updates on my care; this is so important and valuable to me. The LupusLine® also connected me to all the other amazing lupus programs at HSS such as the SLE Workshop, the Annual Walk to Cure Lupus and all the special programming offered at the hospital for patients with lupus in May. I am more knowledgeable and educated about my condition. I encourage other people with lupus to make sure they get the best care and support for them. I am grateful for the relationships I have built at HSS, for Priscilla and for my rheumatologist for taking the best care of me.