Dr Joshua Mali: Welcome everybody to another episode of the podcast series. My name is Dr Joshua Mali. I’m your host today, and this is part two of our podcast series in honor of AMD awareness month in February. We are developing this podcast series, which is the first of its kind. In the first episode, I provided you a retina specialist perspective on managing patients with age-related macular degeneration or AMD. And now I want to turn my attention to presenting a patient perspective on the disease, how it impacts their life and what advice they can give us as doctors in order to help to manage them and help give them a great experience while managing their disease of AMD. So I am really honored and privileged to have actually have one of my patients on today’s show. And I’m so excited to have Nita Gall, who is one of my patients that I treat for wet macular degeneration in both eyes. And I’ve been treating her for many years now and she is an absolute model patient, and I thought she’d be perfect for the show. And I’m so excited to have her bring her perspective on the treatment, on managing it, how AMD affects her life as I’m sure all the listeners will be so excited and attentive to hear her perspective on the whole journey of age-related macular degeneration. So welcome Nita.
Nita Gall: Hi, thank you.
Dr Joshua Mali: So just to start a little introduction. If you don’t mind, for our listeners, would you just tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from originally, and how long you’ve had AMD for?
Nita Gall: I am originally from Illinois, and I’ve lived in Florida for 30 years now. So I am retired and living in Florida. And I’ve been seeing Dr Mali probably for about five years, at least. And he’s been excellent and the injections, I know you worry about those, but they really aren’t bad at all because they put numbing drops in your eyes when you have them. And it sure has helped me continue on with my, we do tropical arts and crafts and I do a little painting on them, and then we take them out and actually sell them in a store on Anna Maria Island. And I’ve been fortunate to have him as my doctor because really, it hasn’t affected my life that much. I’m sure I don’t see as well as I could all the time, but most of the time I do really well.
Dr Joshua Mali: That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. And you mentioned Nita your occupation currently with your artwork. Could you go into that and describe that more for the listeners. About what exactly your artwork entails and how your vision is so important to you in regards to managing your artwork?
Nita Gall: Okay. My husband cuts out like starfish and sea horses and things, and then I embellish them by painting on them or I paint on the woodcraft. It’s mostly wood that we’ve worked with. And then also I do paintbrushes to get the sand off of your feet with so. And I have really no trouble seeing what I’m doing at all. So it’s really, it’s fun. It keeps me busy and I enjoy it, and I don’t have really any problem at all, seeing what I’m doing.
Dr Joshua Mali: That’s wonderful. And by the way, I can certainly vouch for your expertise and skills with creating that cause I’ve seen it and it’s just really magnificent. And I just really am so impressed with the beauty of your artwork.
Nita Gall: Well thank you.
Dr Joshua Mali: My pleasure, just speaking the truth. And I just really think that it’s just a privilege for me as a physician. That’s the greatest gift that a patient can give to me is really being able to perform their occupation or perform what they love to do and being able to spread that to the world and really showing their talents. So I do thank you for that.
Nita Gall: Well, and thank you for letting me do it.
Dr Joshua Mali: My pleasure. It’s my pleasure. And Nita if you could, for our patient listeners out there, because, by the way, this is both for eye doctors and ophthalmologists and people that deal with this on to day-to-day basis. If you don’t mind, we’re going to have patients also listen to this episode as well. And I would love to hear about your journey with anti-VEGF injections. You’ve given me permission to talk about your case and talk about your current treatment regimen. And so that’s very important to get that permission by the way, from your patients. We have to be HIPAA compliant. But I do want to make sure that right now you’re currently on two different medications actually in your right eye you’re on Eyelea every 12 weeks. In your left eye, you’re Beovu every 12 weeks as well. And you’ve been doing fantastic with that regiment. But could you talk to us about that journey, how you got there and what patients should expect with injections, and just your experience overall?
Nita Gall: Well, I started out seeing you, I think, probably every four weeks for a while there and six weeks. My right eye isn’t as good as my left eye but kept my left eye stable. And now it’s gone from frequently to 12 weeks, which is fantastic from my viewpoint. But the injections, as I said earlier, really aren’t that bad. When I started, I thought, Oh no, I’m not going to be able to do this, but the staff and you make it, they make you very comfortable. And it’s not bad at all. It’s very much worth having them to keep your eyesight.
Dr Joshua Mali: That’s great. That’s great. Yeah. I think that’s important to hear because, as doctors, we tell patients about the procedure, we try to go through the steps, we try to prepare patients for the whole situation, but it’s really nice to hear that from a patient and their experiences. So I think you’re really gonna help a lot of people, relieve anxiety just to talk about the whole experience and I’m so happy to hear you say that. And I would love to hear about your experience with my practice, how you’ve done with appointments, and just from your perspective, how’s the journey been working with our team and your care so far.
Nita Gall: I think the team and Dr Mali are excellent. They make you feel right at home and they get you in and out as soon as they can, which is helpful too. And everyone is always real cooperative. And I haven’t had to break that very many appointments, but they’re very understanding. They work around your schedule a little bit too, but the injections are the most important things to keep you stable.
Dr Joshua Mali: Yeah. That’s great. Just, just like you said, I think it really is. You’re like the perfect model patient, right? Because you follow the treatment regiment, you come to appointments, you’re very compliant and you’ve achieved fantastic results. So I think you’re a great model patient for our listeners out there. If you follow the treatment regimen of your doctor and you come to appointments and you follow the treatment schedule, you really can have excellent results and keep your vision for a long time. I was looking back at your chart and we’ve been able to keep your vision perfectly stable for the last five or six years now. And it’s just been so incredible because again, this is a naturally progressing disease. And the fact that we’ve been able to keep you very stable for so long is just a Testament to your compliance and you are following all the appointments. As a physician, I really do appreciate that. And, it’s such a pleasure taking care of patients like yourself.
Nita Gall: Well, thanks. It’s a pleasure coming in actually. I don’t mind it at all, and it’s definitely worth having them done.
Dr Joshua Mali: Absolutely. And another thing we like to do is, you know, again, we get a lot of patients, snowbirds that come, you know, we’re in Florida here. So we get, six months people that come six months here, six months there, you know, you can still keep up your treatment schedules. And we have doctors that we work with that we do co-management with, that are up North, that are able to continue the plan that we set up. And so I really think that patients should just put their eye health as a top priority and you can really achieve great visual outcomes.
Nita Gall: Most definitely. Yes.
Dr Joshua Mali: And Nita, I was wondering to see if you had any pearls of wisdom for our patients that are listening as well as for the doctors. Anything that you’ve learned throughout the years with receiving injections with having AMD. Any pearls of wisdom that you can present to our listeners today.
Nita Gall: Well, mostly what you were saying, which keeps your appointments and don’t be afraid to go. And most importantly is to keep up with your procedures. And I think you can stay stable, which you’ve done a great job with me. And so I would definitely tell them to be sure and go for your appointments and have it done. And don’t worry about having any anxiety over it as it’s very much important to keep going so you keep your eyesight.
Dr Joshua Mali: That’s awesome advice, Nita. I think we live in such a wonderful age now where we have such fantastic treatments available. We have four different injections Lucentis, Eyelea, Beovu, and Avastin. We have a lot of great treatments now. We’re able to preserve vision and improve vision with these treatments with patients with wet macular degeneration. It’s just a privilege for me to serve our community and deliver those medications to our patients and keep them doing what they love to do. And that’s the greatest gift that I can get from a patient is, keep living their life and keep doing what they love to do, just like you’re doing
Nita Gall: Most, most definitely. And you’ve done a great job.
Dr Joshua Mali: I appreciate the kind words. I love to thank you for coming on the podcast show today and really giving patients a lot of hope with your experiences. Any final words?
Nita Gall: No, just thank you. You’re a great doctor. And I actually look forward to seeing you when I come in. So that’s about it and thank you so much for keeping me stable.
Dr Joshua Mali: It’s my pleasure. It’s my pleasure. And thank you so much for coming on today.
Nita Gall: Okay. Thank you.
Dr Joshua Mali: Thank you.