Kathy Meehan

 

 

My story began exactly fifteen years ago this month. My name is Kathy Meehan. I am a thirty-eight year old wife and mother of five children ages 11,9,8,4,and eleven months.  I was a twenty-three year old recent college graduate, just completing my first year at my first job. My symptoms came out of nowhere. I had severe chest pain, and high fevers, chills, and night sweats. Like many of you I thought I had the flu. I decided after a week to see a doctor. He couldn't find anything wrong with me, except that I had had a recent strep infection. He decided to do some blood work. He called me a few days later and told me that my sedimentation rate was high (well over 100)and that I should return to my home town and seek medical help. Within a few days I was home and in the hospital in order for my doctor to do some tests.  I was put on antibiotics because of the high WBC which helped only temporarily. After ten days and numerous tests I went home.  During this time my RBC went from 33 to 21 in about a week. At this point I was frustrated as well as concerned, I didn't want to lose my job.  I decided to seek another opinion. I went to a clinic with a great reputation in my area. It was there that I began my journey (like so many of you) which included hundreds of tests, including every scan known to mankind (6 ct scans), 3 bone marrow biopsies (ouch), and hundreds of vials of blood. During this three years span I did go into remission three times, only to have my symptoms return. I was told that  I had Hodkins Disease, but after sending my bone marrow biopsies to Ca., and Chicago, that diagnosis was ruled out (even though my hemotologist was convinced that is what I had). During this time I was loosing weight, having quotient and double-quotient fever spikes, drenching night sweats, and had to have three blood transfusions. I was very achey, but no arthritis.

                      It was during this time that I met and married a wonderful man to whom I've married almost fourteen years. Without his love and support I don't know how I would have gotten through those years.  After we got married, and still no answers (I was almost in remission now), we decided to see a high-risk obstetrician, in order to find out if I could have children.  He read my chart,and immediately sent me to see a Rheumatologist on staff.  It was then that I started getting the answers I had waited so long for. After reviewing my chart and asking a few questions (no tests) he told me that he thought that I had adult-onset Still's disease, but couldn'nt be sure because I was in remission at the time.

                        During the course of the next six years, I gave birth to three beautiful children, with no complications. During that time I was symptom free, that is until the fall of 1993 (after a stressful move). I got sick again only this time it was my lungs. By the time I got to the doctors my lungs were half filled with fluid. After a pleural biopsy to rule out cancer and TB my Rheumatologist told me he was sure that I had Stills disease. I was put on prednisone for about a year. My symptoms were almost gone when I became pregnant with my fourth child. It was a difficult pregnancy and I needed a maintenance dose of prednisone throughout. During labor my placenta broke and I was rushed into the delivery room. My daughter was born just in time. The two and a half years after her birth were difficult. I had low grade fevers, aches, stomach problems, bone pain yet no one  knew if it was the Stills or not. Finally in the spring of 1998 I felt I was back to my old self.

                       In June of 1999 I gave birth to Andrew. I had a great pregnancy and very uneventful delivery. I have been feeling pretty good since then. I have problems with my legs (very achey), but am not sure if it's Still's  related or not.

                          I feel very fortunate that although I have had some rough years, I have not developed  the arthritis so common to this disease. I've had the mylagias, and arthralgias, but not the degenerative arthritis so many people with this disease get. Although I would not wish this disease on anyone having it has made me appreciate everything. I tell people all the time, if you have your health, you are truely blessed, and that they should thank God.

                               I would like to thank Tom  who launched this web-site, In the 1980's I tried to do research on this disease. I found very little, and what I did find was very technical. I look forward to visiting this site , and if I can be of any help to anyone feel free to e-mail me.

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The materials and information on this server are intended for educational and informational purposes only. The materials and information are not intended to replace the services of a trained health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians and/or other health care professionals. The International Still's Disease Foundation is not engaged in rendering medical or professional medical services. You should consult your physician on specific medical questions, particularly in matters requiring diagnosis or medical attention. The International Still's Disease Foundation makes no representations or warranties with respect to any treatment, action, application medication or preparation by any person following the information offered or provided within this website.  Any information used from other websites was done so with permission from each site, with an exception to those of "public domain", whereas we believe any site without a cited reference was a "public domain site" and for our use.  The International Still's Disease Foundation is a non-profit organization.   This page was last updated on January 17, 2001

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