A Sacred Dialogue
A Personal Journey into the World of Lupus and Other Autoimmune Diseases
Warm encouragement and practical knowledge—that’s what the more than 1.5 million Americans with lupus will find in this welcoming and well-balanced book from Colorado lupus patient Anita A. Fricklas and her lupus doctor, Stuart S. Kassan, MD.
The duo has teamed up to write a compelling series of conversational “dialogues” on such topics as:
“My belief is that I it takes a positive attitude and some effort to achieve balance in life,” writes Ms. Fricklas, a writer and lecturer who has had lupus for 30+ years and serves on the board of the Lupus Foundation of Colorado. “When you have a chronic illness like lupus, this is especially true.”
By his sheer presence in the book’s pages—his sections are differentiated by being in italics—Dr. Kassan provides inspiration for some of that steady and reassuring outlook. Author among other works of Chronic Pain for Dummies, Dr. Kassan is an internationally recognized rheumatology expert and a clinical professor at the University of Colorado. His busy private practice is located in Denver.
The relationship between the two unfolds right before the reader’s eyes, and serves as something of a model for positive patient-doctor communication skills. It’s a complex yet crucial bond.
In a telling example on the importance of this “sacred dialogue,” Anita in Chapter 3’s “Taking Your Own Advice” warns against denying symptoms—failing to relay them. She’s at a routine visit with her doctor and considers not telling him how poorly she actually feels. “I wasn’t feeling so terrific,” she recounts, “but when [he] asked, I said I was fine. I was tired of the battle, tired of the trips to the ER, tired of going to super specialists…”
But Dr. Kassan knew Anita well enough to suspect something was wrong, and probed some more. Ultimately he insisted she go to the ER—where they diagnosed pneumonia. “Be honest with yourself,” Dr. Kassan advises Anita and the readers. “Don’t ignore what your body is telling you.”
This and so many other lessons can be found in the book. So many, in fact, that fatigue and overload might set in.
“[But] do we lupus patients have a choice?” Anita finally asks. “Of course we do,” is her conclusion. “We can live well or not. It’s up to each of us to follow our own path. The glass is always half full, if we will allow ourselves to see it that way.”
Read Lupus, My Doctor, and Me, and you may well find ways to see it that way for yourself!
MORE ABOUT: Anita A. Fricklas, M.A.
Over the past decade, Anita has written extensively about her lupus experiences and has given lectures and workshops on the subject.
Ms. Fricklas lives in the Denver suburbs with her husband, Rich, where they frequently spend time with their three children and seven grandchildren.
MORE ABOUT: Stuart S. Kassan, M.D., F.A.C.P.
An internationally recognized expert in rheumatology and the treatment of lupus and other autoimmune diseases, Dr. Kassan is also a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver and runs a busy practice in the city.
Dr. Kassan lives in Denver with his wife, Gail. They have two adult children.