By Cindi Todd,
In 2008, I suddenly felt like I had the flu, yet different. I was so exhausted that it felt like I was trying to run in a pool with a wet wool blanket on me. I had these strange rashes, and soon after, started getting weird neurological symptoms.
Suddenly I couldn’t feel my feet from the ankle down.
Another time, I was walking into work and panicked as I couldn’t feel my clothes. It’s not that I was cognizant of my clothes before, but when you suddenly can’t feel them, you know. I thought I was standing in my employer’s parking lot, naked. Luckily, when I looked down I did have clothes on (or course).
More and more symptoms started happening. More and more frustrating doctor’s visits occurred. Finally, after 3 years of seeing local doctors, I went to a doctor at a tertiary hospital in Los Angeles and was diagnosed.
I have Behcet’s Disease. Behcet’s Disease is a rare inflammatory autoimmune disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout your body. The disease can lead to numerous signs and symptoms that can seem unrelated at first, such as the ones I experienced.
I was relieved to have a diagnosis and, although there is no cure, I started receiving treatment to help me deal with my symptoms. This was a new beginning of a long road of disappointing treatments and harsh side effects. Years later, I’m now on a good treatment regime that is largely effective with virtually no side effects.
More research desperately needs done on the disease itself and on better treatment options. This is why I backpack (and hike) for Behcet’s Disease Awareness.
When I was first diagnosed with Behçet’s Disease, I was too sick to even
think about backpacking or hiking, dealing with extreme exhaustion and pain. Now I backpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains (California) several times a year. I’ve also hiked/backpacked in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park, Czech Republic, Romania, Switzerland, Hong Kong & Turkey.
I hope by continuing to hike, I keep raising awareness for this rare disease and inspire others who have been diagnosed to find something they love too.
Since I put a lot of pressure on my joints, I utilize Incrediwear Knee and Ankle sleeves to help give my body support. The sleeves provide the needed assistance to keep my body align and functioning at it’s best.
About Cindi Todd
Cindy is not just an inspiration for other patients dealing with Behcet's Disease, but an activist in her own right, driving awareness and understanding by sharing her story. She has written a book about her experiences, growth and ongoing fight.
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