Saturday, April 26, 2014

A surprise diognosis added for woman with Multiple Autoimmune Diseases

Her name is Lauren, and she is a 26 year old women with an unusual collection of autoimmune diseases that includes Polyarthritis, Autoimmune Pancreatitis, Autoimmune Hepatitis, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and IgA Deficiency, and Sjogren’s Syndrome with neurological involvement. She writes about her struggles with dealing with sometimes dangerous new treatments, balancing relationships with family and friends, her difficulty in adapting to life in a wheelchair due to debilitating arthritis, and most importantly her quest to maintain hope and faith in herself through it all.

This is her story of suddenly having to face the arrival of yet another mystery guest
that will never leave.

By Lauren,
When you are living with multiple chronic illnesses things can quickly spiral out of control.  Cruising along getting through the day to day and then suddenly you are veering off the road and into the dark unknown.

What started as a tiny pimple turned into a nightmare.  I got a cellulitis infection on my neck which triggered a chain of events leading to a devastating new diagnosis.  How did I get here alone in the dark and how do I get back on the road?

When the tiny “pimple” grew to half my neck in size in 72 hours time, my doctor told me he’d meet me in the ER.  When you are immunocompromized (as I am), you don’t take risks with infections.  I decided to have my caregiver Nathalie drive me an hour to the big city hospital where all my specialists are on the off chance they decided to admit me.  This turned out to be a wise move on my part as I they almost immediately decided to admit me for IV antibiotics.

But even as the infection started to clear over the next few days of IV vancomyocin, things started to go downhill.  A familiar yet mysterious pattern emerged reminiscent of my hospitalization in May.

I developed both blurry and double vision.  Then I started having severe weakness borderline on paralysis in my left leg.  Then my right leg.  That is where things had stopped in the past and in May, but this time the paralysis continued to ascend.  I could no longer control my bladder and had to be catheterized.  Then I began having trouble moving my arms.  Finally my breathing muscles were effected.

My doctors quickly moved me to the ICU.  Effectively paralyzed, I was intubated and put on a ventilator.  I received a high dose pulse of steroids to help calm down my immune system which was attacking my nerves, preventing me from breathing on my own.

After a week of having  a machine breathe for me.  I was able to breathe on my own again and was moved out of the ICU to a monitored floor.  But the mystery remained.  What had caused all this?

Well the answer came in the form of another infection – a kidney infection.  With the new infection the blurry/double vision and paralysis got worse again rather rapidly.  Turns out the antibiotic being used to treat the infection can make symptoms worse for people with a certain disease which matched many of  the symptoms I have.

 Continue >>>  ... So my neurologist ...

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