Imagine entering the hospital with gastrointestinal symptoms and emerging with a very different, but much more debilitating set of neurological symptoms. Suddenly, you feel semi-conscious 24/7, weak, fatigued and clumsy. You have hissing in the ears, phantom smells, and intolerance to passing scenery and stimuli. You are unable to drive a car or walk more than 20 or 30 feet. You immediately go to your doctor, expecting to receive a prompt diagnosis and treatment so that you can hurry up and feel better. You have no idea that you are embarking on a nightmarish, decade-long journey.
Seven years and thirty-seven doctors later, you are still seeking the correct diagnosis and treatment for the mysterious symptoms. You can’t work, you still can’t drive a car, and you can’t shop in most stores because of your brain's intolerance to stimuli. You walk with a cane to help you cope with the constant spinning and swimming sensations and to help you feel more connected to the ground. At times, you even need a wheelchair for mobility.
By this time, you have been to some of the top medical facilities in the country, where one physician after another can’t find the source of your symptoms. Some physicians have even suggested that perhaps your symptoms are all in your head, and you are subjected to a battery of psychiatric tests. One psychiatrist even suggests in a written report that you are “suffering from conflict about your role as a southern woman,” and that the stress from this “conflict” is causing your disabling symptoms.
This was my life until doctor number 38 correctly diagnosed me with an autonomic disorder, resulting in a lack of blood flow to the brain. He prescribed a combination of medications that gradually gave me back most of my life over a period of about four years. Prior to my diagnosis and treatment, I had trouble walking from the front door to the mailbox. Now I run an average 50 - 60 miles per week, I drive my car every chance I get, and I have resumed my full-time career as an Organization Development Specialist. To date, I have completed 12 marathons and 13 ultra-marathons, I hold two state age records in the 50 mile race distance, and I just completed my first 100 mile race!
Now I am on a mission—to empower you with what I have learned and to provide practical applications to help you take charge of your own medical care. With input from some of the top medical experts in the nation, Taking Charge of Your Own Health has evolved into a valuable reference guide for any patient seeking diagnosis, treatment, and even illness prevention. I am eager to share the knowledge I amassed during my long search for answers.
Blessings and Good Health!