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Insights on the SLE Patient-Partner Interaction. By Klarizza Anacta.

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It was such an honor to know the different stories of our patient – partners with SLE. It must be very difficult for them, since these were events in their lives that burry them down with their illness. But I’m very grateful for the opportunity given for these strong individuals share their experiences for us to learn. Our patients are truly, our great teachers in medicine. In fact, we get to understand more of the diseases as we get through the course of understanding the different illnesses with our patients. This holds true, most especially, for SLE. These patients taught us not only medically but even spiritually and personally.

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Like our first SLE patient – partner who was a former medical student. I was so touched with how she cope with medicine and still has a positive view with life. Being a med student, I tend to hide most of my emotions, fears and illnesses to my parents for them not to be worried. I was never different from our first patient. But what touched me was her pretention of being well, despite her flares of SLE, to free her parents of worries. But we are still children and our parents are still badly needed. Our first patient taught me how to be strong despite challenges and consider my family as a great ally, for their support gives the biggest impact, especially in difficult times.

Our second patient being a young individual starting with her life in the work force of our society, she taught me the value of trust for friendship. She seems to be a very friendly person and values her friends so much. Through her SLE flares, her friends were there to support her other than her family. They say when difficult times come, you’ll know your true friends and she was blessed to have it. This made me see how my life affected my friends and I’m very thankful, even in moments that struck hard me like our patient, during her SLE flares, my friends are there also to support. Also, I’m glad she still has a good outlook in life and has learned to manage her life and live normally despite the illness.

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Our third SLE patient inspired me with love. The phrase in weddings “Through richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” gave a big meaning to her experience. With the difficulties and heartaches with her experience with SLE, it was indeed a great foundation to face these times with a smile and sunshines if you know love surrounds you. Seeing her so happy despite being with SLE for 19 years, made me see the true meaning of life with love. At a glance you’ll not recognize her to be sick since she is too jolly and still very pretty. Then, I learn through her story that love made her be what she is despite the illness. It was an inspiration to know how she and her husband love each other. It was like she never thought of having SLE everyday, but thought of being loved every single day. She is an inspiration.

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Our fourth patient-partner made me see how God act in mysterious ways. They say you are truly blessed everyday with miracles, it’s up for you to see it. With our patient, her being alive and recovering from every SLE flare made her see God in her life. It would take so much for people to stop and see God and his works and with our patient, she has seen God. Every miracle she experience in her life made her stronger. Her illness brought her to near death but because of her faith, she was saved and live more. She made me realize that once in a while, I have to stop and see God’s blessings for me and be thankful. She made me realize that in whatever that may come in life, God is partner and He will never leave us.

Our fifth and sixth patients were twins. They were diagnosed at a young age of 9 years old. I was moved by the story of the mother on how she handled her children despite financial contstraints. Though they were not blessed with money and a good life, she was thankful that she and her family, especially her children with SLE can get by each day. The twins are still blessed to have such loving parents that help them get through each flare. They made me see the value of family and life. Despite the flares and the difficulties in life, the mother and the twins still have the courage to go on and live life normally.

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SLE was never taught to us, as a structured disease since the flares and the symptoms occur differently in character to patients. But learning from the symptoms and the flares each of our patient – partner shared, it opened us to see SLE on different occasions to enhance our knowledge to help our future patients, for them not to suffer further and lessen any complications with each flare.

Having the SLE patient – partner interaction really taught me a lot. Not just medically but personally and spiritually. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.