乐动体育官方网站Since Jessica Barideaux was 13 years old, she’s had a sporadic health condition that worsened as she aged. What started out as “painful pimples” on her arms, legs, and groin region turned into frequent softball sized cysts in the same areas. Often times these cysts were so painful, that she would have to go to the ER to have a surgeon drain them. When she was 27, Jessica would come to find out she had a condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). However, this was after 10 years of Jessica frequenting the ER for painful surgeries completely in the dark about her condition, and suffering not only the physical health issues but the mental health issues that arose from her chronic condition.
乐动体育官方网站Her first surgery was when she was 18 while she was away at college in Alabama. During these visits to the ER, Jessica would have her cysts numbed with shots, cut open, drained, and stuffed with gauze. Jessica said she’s had this surgery over 20 times and the doctors and surgeons at the hospitals never could tell her what was causing these cysts. “Over the years I really just began to believe this was a “Jessica” problem,” she said.
乐动体育官方网站Her condition frequently caused her to miss class and work. She describes one time when everyone went on vacation for Spring Break and she stayed behind in her college dorm because she had a cyst in her groin area so bad that she could barely walk. These flare-ups made her feel isolated from friends and family.
乐动体育官方网站“How do you explain that to people? How do you say what the problem actually is when you don’t even know,” Jessica asked. “It’s easier to shut off and stay in my room and I did that for years.”
Jessica was unaware there was any other way of dealing with this. “To me it (the surgeries) became normal…my normal,” Jessica said. However, in May and June of 2017 her “normal” got even worse. Jessica said she had 6 surgeries within two months because the cysts just kept coming back.
乐动体育官方网站“I had never been in the hospital this close together or this bad… it had never been this out of control where I couldn’t take care of it myself,” she said.
The surgeons kept pushing Jessica for a surgery to remove the sweat glands and lymph nodes in her arms but each time she refused. Luckily, during all of these flare-up’s she was connected to Bridges to Care through University Hospital. This opened the door to all the services she needed but didn’t know where to look. Sam Ginsburg referred her to a dermatologist and Jessica said this action alone was truly revelatory for her.
乐动体育官方网站“I’ve had this since I was 13 and no one had ever referred me to a dermatologist. Already at that point, MCPN changed my life because she wasn’t sending me to another surgeon to cut me open, she was asking, how can we fix this?”
乐动体育官方网站Within a few weeks of her last surgery, Jessica was finally diagnosed with HS and began treatment with Humira. She also able to address her underlying mental health issues through B2C with our Behavioral Health Provider, Jennifer, and now sees a therapist at Aurora Mental Health.
“I’m basically doing everything I wanted to be doing and just didn’t know how to do it,” Jessica said. “Bridges to care was kind of that first step.”
乐动体育官方网站Not only did Jessica begin to have her own health needs met but she realized she wanted to be an advocate for others who may be going through similar issues. She joined and moderates a Facebook group with over 10,000 members with HS. She started a YouTube channel where she talks about her experiences and the importance of advocating for your health needs.
乐动体育官方网站“Talking to people who have what you have know what you’re going through, helped me in a way I never knew was possible,” Jessica said. “It made me realize I wanted to help other people.”
This is one of the reasons that Jessica is now enrolled in massage therapy school. She believes that all these doors never would have been open without her involvement in Bridges to Care.
乐动体育官方网站“Bridges to Care helped me realize that you can do more for yourself than what they would have you believe in the ER, she said. “The fact that there was a whole group of people rooting for me, I never had that…it’s changed my life.”