PATIENT AND EXPERT STORIES
Under the expert care of a dermatologist specialising in skin pigmentation (vitiligo)
Major infrastructure project manager, husband and father of two, Daniel, 37, has spent most of his life trying to control his skin problem.
After sustaining a sporting injury at 15 years old, Daniel developed white patches (pigmentation) on his skin close to the injured area. Daniel gave little thought to the white patches at the time, however, when the patches didn’t fade over time, he grew concerned.
Then living in India, Daniel met with local doctors who tested him for leprosy and a vitamin C deficiency, but found nothing.
In 2003, Daniel moved to Australia. A few years later, he noticed the white pigmentation of his skin was continuing to spread, even appearing in areas of his body where no injury or scarring had occurred. It was at this time Daniel knew something was wrong, so he visited a doctor for professional advice. Daniel was subsequently diagnosed with the pigmentation condition known as vitiligo.
“I was 25 years old when I was diagnosed with vitiligo. I met with some doctors and started a treatment regime, but it didn’t really help,” said Daniel.
In 2011 Daniel visited a dermatologist who specialises in the treatment of vitiligo, Dr Michelle Rodrigues. She explained how treatment for the condition works in a succinct and knowledgeable manner.
“Dr Rodrigues was the first doctor who I had come across who really understood my skin condition.
“She armed me with accurate information about vitiligo, provided me with reassurance of my treatment plan moving forward, and where I stood as a patient,” Daniel said.
Daniel has spent the past six years under Dr Rodrigues’ care.
“During my consultations with her, I’m able to openly discuss the various challenges I’m experiencing with my treatment,” said Daniel.
Working in infrastructure, Daniel spends much of his time travelling, and is often unable to access the UV light treatment he requires for his vitiligo.
“Although I’m managed by a very good dermatologist, I’m not always able to follow my tailored treatment plan due to my work commitments.
“Unlike a General Practitioner (GP) or a blood testing service, it’s not always easy to find an Ultraviolet (UV) treatment facility, which is critical to optimally managing my skin condition,” Daniel said.
“I don’t always do everything I can to look after my skin. I try to moisturise as much as possible, but I know I could be doing more. Life is busy however, and other things can get in the way.”
Daniel nonetheless does try to access treatment as regularly as possible, and since working with Dr Rodrigues, has reportedly seen a great improvement in his vitiligo.
“The treatment plan I’m on today is great, and it’s working. Before my referral to Dr Rodrigues, I didn’t have an appropriate treatment or management plan for my condition.
For Daniel, having a dermatologist whom he can trust is critical to his recovery. Knowing Dr Rodrigues is a member of the Australasian College of Dermatologists and has spent an additional four years on top of her medical degree undertaking further study to qualify as a dermatologist, plus extra research on vitiligo, provides Daniel with peace of mind and confidence in her ability to professionally manage his skin condition.
“I’ve had an excellent experience with Dr Rodrigues and would urge anyone living with a skin, nail or hair condition, to ask their GP for a referral to a dermatologist without hesitation.”