On this Rare Disease day, for the 1000th time, let me clear something up and then show you how to fix it:
PANS/PANDAS is not rare, and it’s not only kids that have it. So please, stop referring to it as a “rare pediatric disorder.”
Current estimates say that PANS/PANDAS affects 1 in 200 kids. And since nothing magical happens when a person turns eighteen, you can be sure there are thousands and thousands of adults walking around who grew up and never got treated.
I have been advocating for awareness for nearly seven years, ever since I was diagnosed at age nineteen. We have seen much progress in research, but when I can still go to a doctor and hear “rare” and “pediatric,” it feels like I’ve been screaming into a void for all this time. And I realize that I am only one of thousands of advocates who probably feel the same. So if we haven’t been able to achieve major reforms in the treatment of this disorder so far, what are we missing?
The other day, I found this cryptic message scrawled on a sticky note inside my desk. I had completely forgotten that this used to be one of my favorite sayings in the years when I was still fighting through the brain inflammation from PANS. But now, it’s taken on a whole other level of meaning with my new challenges…
I remember clearly the day I was diagnosed with PANS, and my neurologist said I needed IVIG treatment urgently. It would be an infusion of antibodies from thousands of human donors in an attempt to stop my own autoimmune antibodies from attacking my brain.
As I opened my eyes to the morning sunlight peeking through my blinds, for a feel blissful seconds, I forgot the many reasons I shouldn’t feel as calm as I did in that moment.But not a minute later, it all came rushing back, and my stomach did a somersault.
Today is PANS Awareness Day 2018. There’s so much I could write as someone who has lived with PANS for most of my life—even more than I’ve already said in the 100,000+ words I’ve written in previous posts on this blog.
Hi everyone, I’m interrupting our regular programming to let you know I’m speaking on the Stanford PANS Parents Support Group teleconference tonight at 5:45 Pacific Time!
You don’t have to be in California to listen. You can hear it by calling 1 (650) 724 9799. International numbers are available here. The meeting ID is 649 394 165.
Dr. Frankovich from the Stanford PANS clinic will be conducting a Q&A at 5:45, and then I speak around 6:30. I’ll be sharing my story, some encouragements, and some things I wish I could’ve told my parents when I was at my worst.
In the last couple of months, I’ve had a breakthrough in my recovery. After being mostly couch-bound since January, I’m now able to run. And my cognitive abilities have improved so much that I just finished a small project. So many things I’ve hoped for have become reality!
I thought I’d feel nothing but elation if I ever got back to this point, but instead, now that I’m here…
I’ve found a dark side that no one wants to talk about.
In 2012, when I developed an extreme case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder overnight, all I wanted was to get better—not to spend the next six years fighting to get treatment for a “controversial” disease.However, when conventional therapies failed, and I rapidly declined after Strep and mono two years later, only steroids were able to help my severe psychiatric symptoms. It was then that I realized the truth wasn’t always easy to accept: Continue reading “These 3 Myths about PANS Are Ruining Lives: A Response to Misguided Medicine”→
When people talk about PANS and Lyme recovery, I’m frustrated that it’s always in terms of symptoms. For me, it’s never about the symptoms—it’s about coming back from the dead and regaining the parts of me that were lost.