My name is C.J. I have two autoimmune diseases. The first one is called Interstitial Cystitis or IC. It is a very painful bladder disease. Some people are in so much pain that it is crippling. There is currently only one FDA approved drug specifically for IC. It is very expensive, and in a lot of cases it is not covered by insurance. I was diagnosed with IC in August of 2013. It sometimes can take years to get a proper diagnosis. I was lucky to get mine after only three months. I currently take six different medications to control all of the symptoms I’m experiencing.
Plus, I have another autoimmune disease called Sarcoidosis. Sarcoidosis (sar-koy-DO-sis) is a disease of unknown cause that leads to inflammation. This disease affects your body’s organs. Normally, your immune system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. For example, it sends special cells to protect organs that are in danger. These cells release chemicals that recruit other cells to isolate and destroy the harmful substance. Inflammation occurs during this process. Once the harmful substance is gone, the cells and the inflammation go away. In people who have sarcoidosis, the inflammation doesn’t go away. Instead, some of the immune system cells cluster to form lumps called granulomas (gran-yu-LO-mas) in various organs in your body. I suffer from pulmonary and lymph node Sarcoidosis. My case is severe. It took two years to get a proper diagnosis. I ended up needing to be on oxygen 24/7. I have been on oxygen since September 20, 2013. I had an open lung biopsy to get the diagnosis. My lungs were so bad that I had to be kept on a ventilator for a prolonged period, and I was in the ICU. So far I have not responded to any of the medications they’ve tried. I am currently in need of a lung transplant. Unfortunately, I’ve been denied the opportunity to even be placed on the transplant list due to the severity of my condition. They frankly don’t think I’d survive such an operation. So they are trying a new medication regimen. I take oral chemo once a week, and I also get infusions every 6 weeks now. I take a total of about 35 pills a day, plus I’m on the oxygen 24/7. I have been fighting now for three years, and I plan to beat this.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.