Myra’s Story By Myra Kinsella
Editor: Jill Smith
My name is Myra Kinsella. I am 65 years old. In September 1990, I was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease when I was 40 so I have been fighting it for 25 years.
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was just 37. My primary care physician started me on Synthroid and I was fine. Three years later I suddenly became nauseated all the time and my TSH results started going up and down. I also developed significant vitiligo.
Finally my doctor decided to send me to an endocrinologist at the Medical University of SC. She sat and talked with me and asked me several questions. She asked if I was craving salt and other questions. She also did blood work. I was feeling so sick!
When I left her office that day, I had a diagnosis of Addison’s Disease. She started me on prednisone. In December 1990, I became very ill and was hospitalized. My sodium was very low so they started me on salt tablets and florinef.
Over the years I have done fairly well controlling my Addison’s Disease. I was switched from prednisone to hydrocortisone. I would be hospitalized occasionally due to adrenal crisis. They would give me IV fluids and IV steroids.
I was able to continue working as a Critical Care Registered Nurse.
In 1998, I developed avascular necrosis requiring hip replacement. I did ok with the surgery with the stress dosing however the joint was not stable and dislocated twice requiring revision. I was unable to work after that.
In 2003, I developed avascular necrosis in my right hip and had hip replacement on it. It became infected and this is when I coded. The infection went to the other hip and throughout my whole body. I was septic and in a coma. My sodium was 112. I spent a week in ICU and then 3 weeks in the hospital.
When I went home, we had a hospital bed in the living room and I lived there. I didn’t have a hip on either side. They had removed them so I was unable to walk. I had to slide from bed to wheelchair to bedside commode etc. The infection ate through the socket of my left hip and the surgeon had to reconstruct the socket out of cadaver bone.
From 2004 until 2012, I had 20 surgeries, revisions, dislocations, recurrent infections, etc. I was followed by an excellent group of endocrinologists. Thank goodness my Addison’s Disease didn’t cause any problems.
I still have severe pain in my right hip and I limp. I have a motorized scooter that I use for travel, shopping etc.
My endo is wonderful. Anytime I feel bad, I can go to his office and get steroids and fluids.
Both of my daughters are nurses and are terrific advocates for me and so is my husband. I know I am blessed.
So that, in a nutshell, is my story.
I am a Warrior!!
Awareness is Key!