(TMU) — A man left bedridden for over 11 years from a mystery illness has developed a surgery that cured his debilitating symptoms and helped change his life for the better.
The year was 1999 and Doug Lindsay was a 21-year-old biology major at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, when he unexpectedly collapsed on the first day of classes of his senior year.
The former high school track athlete was forced to drop out of college as his symptoms progressed rapidly. It wasn’t long before he was only able to walk 50 feet at a time and could barely be on his feet for just a few minutes. Lindsay—who was chronically plagued by weakness, a racing heart and frequent dizziness—was soon relegated to his bed 22 hours a day.
“If I was up, it was because I was eating or going to the bathroom,” Lindsay said.
Doctors initially diagnosed Lindsay with mono, but because his mother and aunt had both suffered with the same debilitating symptoms for years, he dug deeper into what may actually be the cause of his body breaking down.
His mother suspected the issues originated from a malfunction of the thyroid, but after years of self-researching and piecing together clues from countless doctor visits and tests, Lindsay realized he was showing symptoms of a tumor—except that he didn’t have one.
This discovery lead him to look closer at the adrenal glands—which he finally determined were internally inflamed and producing too much adrenaline—a behavior that indicated he had a tumor.
Working in concert with Dr. H. Cecil Coghlan at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Lindsay finally received a diagnosis. He was suffering from Hebilateral adrenal medullary hyperplasia.
There was no-known cure, but that didn’t deter Lindsay from searching for a solution.
“If there isn’t a surgery, I’m going to make one,” he stated.
Lindsay began assembling a team of physicians who would perform a procedure that would involve cutting open his adrenal glands to remove the medulla. The surgery, which had been tried on rats, cats and dogs, had never been attempted on a human.
Three weeks after the procedure, Lindsay could sit upright for three hours and by Christmas he was able to walk the mile between his home and church.
Although his recovery was slow, he was eventually able to come off some of his medication.
Lindsay now works as a medical lecturer and assists physicians with diagnosing rare diseases.