Walk Ambassador Ailda Nika, MD

 In Story Sharing Project

2021 Virtual run, WALK, ride ambassador, Ailda Nika, MD. Team captain of the Rush’ing Stars. Dr. Nika sees patients through the Rush Lupus Clinic and is instrumental in the annual LSI-RUSH Lupus Clinic Patient Education Event.

What is your connection to lupus?
I treat Lupus

When did you first become aware of lupus in a personal way?
I came across this diagnoses way back when I was a medical student, and I will never forget my first Lupus patient. It happened to be my best friend, then a third-year medical student too.

Why did you become interested in treating lupus?
As you come across certain conditions in medicine, in particular autoimmune conditions, their complexity absorbs you in a way that you want to dedicate more and more of your time finding ways to be part of the great mission to help cure these diseases, one of the most challenging of which happens to be Lupus.

How long does it take to make a lupus diagnosis?
To come to the correct diagnoses, sometimes it takes just a look (in case of a typical butterfly rash that fits the scenario) to years (when the presenting symptoms are not as soaring, little signs here and there in the blood work, unexplained fatigue)

Although you don’t have lupus, how has the lupus diagnosis changed your life and your career in medicine?
The more you know Lupus, the more you realize that this waxing and waning broad spectrum disease that can affect virtually any organ system in your body, affects people in ways that you would never forget about it, and if you could do something, you would dedicate your best to help overcome this disease. I am fortunate to be part of the great Lupus team at Rush, where we take pride of treating patients with Lupus by providing some of the most comprehensive care, including access to ongoing therapeutic trials.

How has life changed for the individuals you care about with lupus?
In many different ways. There are success stories, people that with proper care fortunately go into remission, but there are other challenging cases, that both doctors and patients would struggle keep an equilibrium and try to overcome the more aggressive course.

How did you first become involved in the Illinois Lupus Walk and the Virtual run Walk ride?
By joining Rush Lupus Clinic team over 5 years ago.

Why do you think the Illinois Lupus Walk and the Virtual run Walk ride is important?
It raises awareness in the community about this challenging diagnosis, and it shows people with Lupus, they are not alone in their fight.

How do you make the Illinois lupus Walk and the Virtual run Walk ride personal?
By getting involved in any way I can to be there for and with my patients.

As a Team Captain, what are your goals?
The team Captain might change, but the Spirit remains always the same.

Has a lack of public awareness about lupus affected the patients you treat?
The lack of public awareness about lupus affects the life of my patient, and indirectly mine, as I feel their struggles in my day-to-day encounters with them.

How did you find the LSI?
Introduced by my friend, colleague and Rush Lupus Clinic director, Dr. Meenakshi Jolly, great inspiration for myself and all involved in this fight.

How has the LSI helped your patients cope with lupus?
LSI is a great organization, that helps year-round support our Lupus community in amazing ways.

What would you want the world to know about lupus? Why?
I would want the world to know that Lupus is a “tricky” autoimmune condition, that can affect people in many visible and invisible ways, but that there is hope in the horizon about overcoming this devastating disease. Stay connected! And stay tuned!

Join Dr. Nika and hundreds of others by participating in the Virtual run WALK ride for LUPUS! www.lupuswalkil.org

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