Diagnosis: Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

California, United States

I was diagnosed with ADEM when I was 14 years old. It began with flu like symptoms then progressed to constant headaches and urinary retention in a couple of weeks. Once I was admitted to the hospital, many tests were done without a definitive diagnosis. During this time, I developed optic neuritis and an extreme inability to walk. After about one week, a diagnosis of ADEM was made, treatment began, and I was discharged from the hospital after about two weeks. While at home, I still struggled with lack of energy, problems with urination, and walking. Since this acute phase, my symptoms have subsided and I have only had a few relapses of optic neuritis throughout my life.

Though this disease is a definite struggle for everyone affected, it introduced the field of medicine into my life. I am currently working as a Registered Nurse in Emergency and Trauma. I have an absolute passion for medicine and look forward to growing in this profession. Although everyone diagnosed with these rare disorders presents differently, it can bring passion and hope into their lives, as it did with me. I am grateful for the continuing study of this field and look forward to the advancements that will be made in the future.

Michael Gandy