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Whitney Barshinger

"He saved my life," says Whitney when talking about Eric Newman, MD's approach to her lupus care.

barshinger"Living in Scranton as a 24-year-old, I maintained a crazy schedule: working at a bakery, coaching drama students in the after-school program at Abington Heights High School, and taking acting classes in NYC several times a week. Weekends were not for relaxing, but traveling and singing with a 12-piece R&B band - Daddy-O & The Sax Maniacs.

It was during a week-long gig that I became very ill. I needed help to walk, was in extreme pain, but too stubborn to slow down - I wanted to fulfill my obligations to everyone else. When red dots appeared all over my legs, however, my parents insisted that we see Dr. Richard Martin, a long-time family friend and our Geisinger family physician. After preliminary tests he recommended, 'Geisinger at Danville - without a question,' as the next step.

My hopes and dreams of pursuing a life in theatre and entertainment were dashed away by the next round of tests. Even so, with the support of the compassionate team at Geisinger Rheumatology, I have been able to stay strong and redirect my talent, ambition, and passion. The Geisinger nurses are so kind and personable - they are there just for you. Dr. Newman and his team make having lupus 'OK.' They saved my life by saving my outlook on life.

I have been able to manage this disease one day at a time - on my own terms - and take an active role in treatment and medication decisions. I credit Dr. Newman for allowing me to help guide my own health outcomes. I also eat a very healthy diet and exercise regularly, which I believe curbs stress and limits symptoms. Twelve years after diagnosis, happily married with two beautiful children, I am thankful that Geisinger treats the person, not the disease."

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