My name is Irina. I am twenty-two years old. When I was nine I had my tonsils removed by surgery. Immediately after the operation I experienced muscle weakness and I had no strength to do everyday things as simple as walking or even getting up from bed. Being at that young age I didn't understand exactly what was happening.
My mom is a nurse so she immediately noticed something was very wrong. At that time I was still in hospital due to the operation so we went to see a neural specialist. At first they didn't know what exactly was going on. I was sent to do some tests including a biopsy on my arm.
I remember being very scared. My whole family was terrified. Finally, after weeks of tests, I was diagnosed with polymyositis. The doctors put me on corticosteroids therapy, combined with immunosuppressive medications.
One month in my therapy I gained 45 kilos. I was devastated. The doctors also sent me to physical therapy.
A year or two into my disease, I noticed my fingers were not growing as they should have. I told my mother and we went to see my doctor. As a side effect from the corticosteroids, my arms were weak, and to this day I get tired very easily. Things such as typing this story is very tiring.
I was sent to have my arms treated with liquid nitrogen, which is a very painful process, especially for an eleven-year-old girl. But it didn't result in success.
Now I am twenty-two and I have no muscle weakness or pain. My illness is now in remission. Now I only have problems with my immune system. I am very prone to allergies. I am allergic to milk and dairy products, cereals, nickel, eggs, dust, cats and dogs, and even bread.
But I learned to live with it. I am so happy that my ordeal with the illness is over. Now I have a happy life, a boyfriend for four years who is very supportive and understanding, and a loving family. I am studying to be an English teacher. I also have a part-time job, and a lot of friends. I guess all's well that ends well.
Email: [email protected]
Story edited 09-10-07 JTD
Story posted 10-15-07 SLE
Story Artist: Ione Bridgman
Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin
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