Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eddie's Story - The Diagnosis (Part 2)

continued from yesterday...(scroll down to read Part 1)

I decided to get an appointment with a civilian doctor since Maxwell would only let me see a physician’s aid. I became frustrated when all of the doctors’ offices I called said it would be a few months before their doctor could see me. My mom suggested I call Jackson Hospital and talk to the ladies I used to work with in Medical Records when I was in high school. As a part-time employee of Jackson Hospital, I had an employee doctor who would do a yearly physical for free. I called to see if they thought my former employee doctor would see me again at a much sooner time. Dr. Fred Campbell’s office was very accommodating, giving me an appointment right away with Dr. Fred Campbell.

I am a Christian, and this had to have been the Lord bringing Dr. Campbell back into my life. As I sat there on the examining table with only my shirt pulled off, Dr. Campbell right away noticed something suspicious about my upper body. He immediately suspected an autoimmune disease such as polymyositis or dermatomyositis. He wanted to admit to Jackson Hospital right away and start me on large doses of Prednisone, an anti-inflammatory drug that would help with what he suspected would be elevated enzymes indicating an autoimmune disorder.

I learned that an autoimmune disease is a condition where the body attacks certain parts of itself. It sends antibodies to certain parts of the body, destroying these targeted areas. My body was attacking the muscles especially.

The blood tests done would confirm Dr. Campbell’s admitting diagnosis. I had an active autoimmune disease going on inside my body. Large doses of Prednisone were administered by mouth, and this would prove effective in lowering the enzymes in question. I also had a muscle biopsy done on my calf muscle to verify the activity. It would also be positive of autoimmune activity.

I was discharged from Jackson Hospital after about a week in the hospital, feeling so much better about my situation now. I would now enter a new chapter with my muscle disease. I would now begin to show the side effects of the large dosage of Prednisone I was taking. I was feeling much better but beginning to gain considerable weight due to retaining fluid. I developed the characteristic “moon face” that accompanies the taking of Prednisone. I felt better but looked terrible. It would get to the point that I would no longer even recognize myself in the mirror. This can be quite alarming when you don’t even recognize yourself anymore. However, I am still hoping and praying for the Lord to heal me.

When you are only 21 years old, and your health is so poor as mine had become, it made me really trust the Lord more and more and really start to think more about spiritual matters in my life. The muscle disease was causing me to think more seriously about being a Christian.

I would end up becoming addicted to Prednisone. It can cause your adrenal glands - located on top of your kidneys – to become suppressed and quit producing the hormones they produce that your body needs. I would try to stop taking Prednisone several times, but would be met each time with terrible results. It would be like my body was an engine trying to run without any lubricant between the rubbing engine parts. It was extremely painful to say the least. I would receive temporary relief with a shot called ACTH at Dr. Campbell’s office. I would feel fantastic for about 1-2 days but the terrible pain would return. So I would end up taking the Prednisone again. I did take much smaller doses than initially – 5 mg daily – but couldn’t completely stop taking the medication. Eventually I would be able to stop taking Prednisone without the painful adverse effects.

to be continued...


Kay said...

This is very interesting, and I'm glad you are sharing it. I love how the Lord uses these difficult things in our lives.
I'm glad to hear that you eventually got off the Prednisone, too.
My aunt took it for more than 30 years for her Lupus.

Nina said...

It's lovely to "meet" you Eddie. Your experience sounds very frightening, especially for such a young man. Anxiously awaiting the rest of the story.

Amel's Realm said...

Uuuuhhh...I know a bit about running an engine without lubricant. That's what my Mom experienced in 2006 (well, it started at the end of 2005). She almost couldn't walk at one time...but I'm glad that glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin combination helps her A LOT in that area. ;-D