Darcy Higgins

 

High school had been a very busy time full of volleyball, basketball, track and having honor roll grades plus keeping a job for extra money, so when I graduated in 1991 taking a year off to work and save money seemed the right thing to do.   I had never been sick with any major illnesses so when hives suddenly began appearing doctors quickly dismissed them as some summertime allergy.  Soon afterwards I began getting arthritis that jumped from one joint to another, spiking fevers, sore throats all the time, swollen liver, spleen and lymph glands and hives that came every afternoon and disappeared over night.

The first rheumatologist that I seen quickly diagnosed me with lupus....but added that it didn't really matter what type of auto immune disease it was because all the treatments were the same!  He pumped me up with all kinds of drugs including prednisone which seemed to be the only thing that I responded to.  I went through a series of remissions and flares which landed me in the hospital a few times each year until during one really bad flare where muscle weakness and pain was sooo bad I couldn't move not even to roll over in bed, my father freaked on the doctors and I was again readmitted for a series of tests until Stills Disease was finally diagnosed.

I have had to go through muscle biopsies where muscle was taken from my thigh and arm without freezing, two bone marrow tests to try and find reasoning to my severe anemia, two gastroscopies to see if internal bleeding was present, removal of a lymph gland to see why it was so swollen, six blood transfusions and many (too many to count) needles for never ending gold injections and blood tests every month.

Lucky for me my Stills has seemed to go into remission but now left me with a whole new fight.....the damage left from swelling of my joints and strong medication used to combat it.   Thus I have reached the hardest turning point yet: three weeks after my 25 birthday on the 29 of April in 1998 I had bilateral hip replacements!  Then on July 6, 1998  my right knee was replaced and on August 19 the left knee was replaced!  Sadly, next on my list are my shoulders.

At 26 I'm pretty darn close to beimg the bionic woman!

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