This week is Mitochondrial Disease awareness week (September 14 – 20) and I am always thinking of ways to spread awareness about both of my diseases, Cystic Fibrosis and Mito. Ironically my Mito is the only hurdle in doing so. I can no long participate in Great Strides (CF walk), I can still sponsor someone but I used to participate in 1 walk for years and for those last 3 years I did 2. Cystic Fibrosis previously was thought to be a childhood disease, Mito still is talked about as a childhood disease but they are learning more and more about adult onset.
I try to post on social media to spread awareness, and I have this blog but I can’t help but feel like I am not doing enough. Then again that is a common theme in my adult life. I never feel like I am doing enough. I should be doing more to raise awareness. I should be doing more around the house. I should be doing more to help my family. I should be doing more to see my family. The list goes on and on, but I’m no whiner so I’ll stop there.
To learn more about Mitochondrial Disease go to umdf.org
Getting them to narrow my specific Mito down is like pulling teeth, every visit I’d ask and every visit I would get the same answer. “You have two mutations never seen before. We cannot classify them easily and we have no other to compare it to. We don’t really know what other symptoms will develop, but we do know the ones you have will progress.” It is a nightmare, and to get any answer I have to break down in front of the right person. I broke down at many of my Mito appointments, and they felt bad; I think, but no one would budge. No false hope and all that jazz, they wanted to be sure. In an article written about me they say “a woman who has been suspected of mitochondrial Cytopathy”, while at another appointment another doc said they thought it was a Myopathy. (Am J Med Genet. 2002 Nov 15;113(1):59-64)
I’m still waiting.
To learn more about Cystic Fibrosis go to cff.org
I was diagnosed at 21 which is when he figured out that I had Mito too. I have lived with the knowledge of both, but because they weren’t sure about the Mitochondrial Disease I focused on my CF. Tried to learn as much about it as I can, I’m no expert but I do know what it is and what it does, and more importantly what it will do. I ignored my Mito until my symptoms had progressed and I was unable to sit at work or walk across a parking lot. I fought hard or disability and was denied twice. Finally I had to go in, that day I was not moving well at all. I had my wheel chair for the long walk into the court house, but I walked into the court room. It was slow and agonizing but I wanted these people to see me. Not just the label of Mito, but me and what it was doing to my body. Finally this judge saw *ME*.
Now I live in a two story home with my husband and daughter. They do the housework and cooking. I pitch in when I can, which is not often. Most days I sit by my window and watch the birds outside, my dogs keep me company as I spend my time on the internet, reading, watching TV, or playing a video game. When the pain is bad I do more than one, in an attempt to keep myself occupied with other things. My therapist called this a distraction method and said it was common with chronic pain sufferers.
Please educate yourself on Mitochondrial Disease and Cystic Fibrosis, both diseases need a cure. Not because I have them, but because I know, first hand, what they are capable of doing to people.