- CASE FILE
Ruth, described recently by one of hundreds of doctors she's seen as "an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum," suffers from multiple conditions
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
Most of Ruth's 55 years was an active, healthy lifestyle, but she was challenged from early on with odd and often debilitating ailments. Sometimes labeled a hypochondriac or Munchausen patient, her journey to achieve health was filled with frustration, but persistence paid off as one by one these mystery ailments "in her head" were properly diagnosed and treated. But years of fragmented medical treatments have left her now in a downward spiral of chronic and often debilitating pain, fatigue, brain fog as she fights to regain some functionality in life. A brief and incomplete history of Ruth's health challenges begins at around 8 years of age, she was diagnosed with "Hypermobility Syndrome" (later diagnosed by UC Davis Genetics as EDS type 3) and was encouraged to limit her physical activity...which she promptly ignored! In her early teens, she was diagnosed with Hypo-thyroidism and was prescribed Thyroid medication, later on to be diagnosed surgically as Hashimotos thyroiditis by Mayo clinic's endocronology department while removing a tumor...at which time her seizure disorder and first brain tumor was discovered. As a teen, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Disease which was improperly treated and at age 37, a year after being married, had a hysterectomy to remove her uterus and left ovary upon discovering stage one cancer in her uterus. A year after moving to Carson City, NV in 2001, she blew out her back and had a successful L5/S1 discectomy/laminectomy surgery, only to discover that her degenerative disc disease diagnosed at age 23 had progressed and worsened along much of her spine. Trying to uncover the reason for her persistent brain fog and fatigue, it was suggested that she be tested for Lymes disease, which tested positive on several occasions, in San Francisco and Columbia Medical Center in NY (she was bit by a tick in her mid-twenties, got a bullseye rash and fibromyalgia symptoms several months later, but doctors dismissed her because the tick bite happened in the Sierra foothills). Around that time she also had her infected gall bladder removed in an emergency surgery. Most recently (2017), she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease following a camera swallow by her GI doctor after years of being misdiagnosed with IBS, and was prescribed Entocort steroid which reduced her severe abdominal pain to a dull roar...but promptly helped her gain 50 lbs over the past two years...and has now stopped being effective for her.
Ruth has seen the gamut of physicians of varying disciplines from LA to Seattle, from San Francisco to New York City, from Rochester, MN to Phoenix...chasing her cure, trying allopathic, naturopathic and homeopathic treatments, sometimes finding help...but only temporarily. She has engaged in careful dietary changes, going from paleo, to raw to AIP and others, avoiding processed foods, sugar, dairy, gluten, MSG, etc., again only finding temporary help. Other health issues include sleep apnea (obstructive and central), chronic bouts with respiratory infections and frequent and often debilitating headaches. She currently takes Kepra for seizures (petite/absent), compounded thyroid medication (doesn’t tolerate synthetic), Zantac and Budesenide for Crohn’s, Percocet as needed for pain (not more than 2, 5/325 pills / day), Magnesium powder, blood pressure medication occasionally to handle labial blood pressure and POTs symptoms, Tylenol for pain as needed. Ruth does not smoke or consume alcohol or caffeine (I know…fun, right!). Ruth regularly enjoys a smoothie with organic kale, chard, spinach, bananas, blueberries, mango with coconut milk and collegen peptides and a nutrition shake with Clearvite, rice protein and electrolytes. She is currently scheduled for nerve ablation treatments for low back and hip pain, nerve conduction tests to assess numbness and weakness in hands and feet, and beginning to meet with Stanford Neurology to further assess brain and spine issues, and have a follow-up with her GI doctor to pursue different treatments for her Crohn’s. Fortunately, her 2 brain tumors have not grown in the past two years and are likely to not be cancer. Unfortunately, her condition has greatly reduced her level of physical activity, and we are hoping that relief from the nerve ablation may open a door for her to begin pool therapy to get her on a path of regular movement and exercise again that should help her with pain and needed weight loss.
We hold no illusions that this show will actually find a "cure" for Ruth. Quite frankly, I think she would overwhelm your viewers. But if that were to happen, we do hope for three things: 1. Relief to where Ruth can function in life again (get dressed without help, engage socially with friends over a dinner, participate more in the family business, exercise and help others), 2. Create awareness for a more integrated healthcare system vs. the fragmented system we currently have whereby patients suffering from chronic/autoimmune diseases often fall thru the cracks, and 3. Help create a network of support for those quietly suffering under the radar from debilitating conditions who all too often lack the family, financial, social and/or spiritual help and encouragement they so desperately need.
Ruth is a fighter, intelligent and tough who cares for others, loves God and lives by faith day by day, reaching out on social media when she can to learn from and encourage others, pray for them, and continue the fight. She is surprisingly thankful and lives a life of simple gratitude…which always inspires me and those who know her. We hope your show will help this great need in our nation...and draw people together and provide real hope as they chase their cure. (by Stephen, Ruth's husband, friend, caregiver and biggest cheerleader).