Michelle Nowalinski-Person of the Month-November 2017
The EPIC Foundation is proud to give honor to Michelle Nowalinski as the Person of the Month for November, 2017! Michelle is a fellow warrior who has fought through Cushing’s Disease. She chooses to turn adversity into an opportunity to give back to the community by raising awareness and serving as a patient advocate.
After going through years of trying to get a diagnosis, and being told that she was just crazy, Michelle vowed that if she ever got diagnosed and better, she would use her journey to help others. Michelle had a case that perplexed the doctors but she fought through her entire journey!
Michelle started to become an advocate after her first surgery, back in 2006. She felt inspired by the fact that she KNEW that people needed someone to help them fight! She met a lot of people with NO help from their families and who were ready to thrown in the towel! She was not willing to let others give up and she knew that her new purpose was to help other people who were in her shoes!
Over the years, Michelle has helped others in the Cushing’s community with grants to help with Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency, ITP, Diabetes care, travel and hotel expenses, and a list of other illnesses and conditions. She has used NORD, PAN Foundation, and other sources to help others get financial help!
Michelle says that her family, ultimately, keeps her going. She is the MiMi to a 3 year old little girl whom she adores! Michelle is 36 years old and has been married for 10 years. Her husband has stuck with her through thick and thin! Her family has stood behind her emotionally, physically and financially since she became sick.
Michelle also collaborates with the endocrinologist and oncologist she sees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She is currently in the process of putting together an educational report about the EDGE Radiation for The EPIC foundation. Michelle’s ability to network and collaborate with medical doctors and also bridge the gap between doctors and patients is an amazing asset to The EPIC Foundation. She fights for patients’ voices to be heard!
Michelle is a multiple survivor of Cushing’s Disease. Even after having her entire pituitary and her adrenal glands removed, her Cushing’s came back! This drives her passion to help people with similar journeys to be heard and not just labeled crazy! She now has Pan hypopituitarism- the lack of all pituitary hormones and is being treated for several hormone deficiencies as well as another rare Disease ITP-Immune Thrombocytopenia, also known as immune or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. This is a rare bleeding disorder characterized by a low amount of platelets in the blood being treated by IVIG Therapy. Michelle has had 3 Pituitary Surgeries with total Pituitary resection, a Bilateral Adrenalectomy (BLA), Ground breaking EDGE Radiosurgery on both the Cavernous Sinus/Carotid Artery as well as both adrenal beds as well as reconstructive surgeries to help correct the aftermath of the body from Cushing’s Disease.
This is Michelle’s message to patients: “I want them to know that I will fight until my last breath for any and all invisible illnesses, be the advocate that someone needs that they do not have. I will break ice and set fire to the “textbook” Cushing’s Diagnosis and treatment and open doors for healing that have not been opened. I have been used in a break-through new to the Cushing’s Community. It is radiation that actually stopped my tumor from producing cortisol overnight! I am willing to be the guinea pig to help others! I always say that today is the first day of the rest of your life, and I try to live my life with no regrets and no ill feelings towards the medical community who pushed my illness aside for so long. Cushing’s is not as rare as most believe it is. Cushing’s is just under diagnosed and overlooked and in a lot of cases, misdiagnosed.”
The EPIC Foundation is privileged to have Michelle Nowalinski as our current Medical Networking and Education Specialist. You can find Michelle’s bio here: http://www.epictogether.org/meet-our-staff/?mc_cid=1f98d7ae6d&mc_eid=aa3fe34a88
Michelle said: “I joined the EPIC Foundation because it is on path with the vision that I had for years but, on a scale to make a bigger difference in the invisible disease community”.
We thank you, Michelle! Together, We are EPIC!!!