Forward is the new approach to primary care, offering customized plans to help you control the future of your health. Today, Los Angeles member Brandy shares her experience with managing chronic care with Forward. For the sake of member privacy, her last name has been omitted.
In 2015, Brandy suffered a pulmonary embolism. She drove herself to the emergency room, unsure of what was happening. Then came the tachycardia, the shortness of breath — and still, no one was quite sure what was wrong.
Then in 2016, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at Cedars Sinai. She worked there in clinical research, giving her access to key opinion leaders & top physicians — an opportunity she acknowledged being lucky to have, yet that did surprisingly little for her:
“Despite knowing the best doctors at a fantastic institution, I never felt that I was taken seriously.”
“I had to fight for everything. I was able to get to cardiac rehab — I had to fight for that. I was able to get into a fibromyalgia treatment program — I had to fight for that. I know for a fact, if I didn’t know the people that I knew, I wouldn’t have even gotten those things.”
She recalls the day she first saw an advertisement for Forward. “I sent a message to the team asking if they could help people with chronic illness, and they responded something like, ‘Oh yeah, of course!’”
“I remember going for a tour right before my visit, and I was just blown away. It’s amazing what their technology can do, but what was really great was the human element, and that technology could facilitate better human interaction.”
Between her diagnosis and first joining Forward, Brandy estimated she’d been to over 50 doctors’ appointments. Each time, it seemed as if the physicians simply repeated whatever was on the computer screen, never taking time to truly listen. Because of this, her initial Baseline visit felt refreshingly different.
“When I was meeting with Dr. Favini, he talked to me the whole time, face-to-face; not facing a computer, not typing, not distracted by anything else. I felt like for the first time, someone was listening to me and the things I was going through.”
“And it wasn’t just pharmacological solutions — he was looking at my whole entire being. Doctors tend to just prescribe medicine and want to treat the illness, but he was really interested in addressing the core of what was going on with me. I had never met a physician that was even willing to think that holistically. So I feel like I can tell him anything — he’s my person.”
Her Care Team facilitates retrieving records on her behalf, and makes it fast and simple to schedule appointments — giving her one less thing to worry about. They’ll often message out of the blue simply to check in on her after she and Dr. Favini decide to try a new care plan or medication.
“That’s so thoughtful. No standard doctor’s office is going to do that. They don’t have the time. I have regular insurance and pay monthly for the best insurance I can get, and I still will pay the fee for Forward. It is absolutely worth the money.”
Brandy still gets bad flare-ups from her fibromyalgia. Some so severe that she’s stuck in bed, in tears, unsure of what to do. With Forward, she’s now able to reach out to Dr. Favini and her Care Team for help where and when she needs it. “This last time, I reached out at midnight and someone was still there for me. And sometimes that’s just what you need.”
“When you have a chronic illness, you feel alone a lot of the time. Just knowing someone is listening and someone cares makes a huge difference. For the first time since my diagnosis, I’m finally seeing progress. Not everyone can advocate for themselves or has someone who can advocate for them. I’m a fighter, so I push and push and push. But I know not everyone can do that. And at Forward, you don’t have to fight anymore. They care.”
We’re honored to be partners in your care, Brandy, and are always beside you to keep pushing forward. Thank you for sharing your story. Do you have a Forward story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share.
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