My mom is almost 70 years old and has been chronically ill for the past 13 years or more with Sarcoidosis. When she first became symptomatic she thought she had developed a cough related to some sort of typical upper respiratory infection. The coughing worsened and lasted for many months, impeding her breathing and physical activity. My mom works hard and does not bother much with doctors. She believes strongly that prolonging life when someone is seriously ill does more harm than good. Once she realized the seriousness of her disease she completed “Do not resuscitate” paper work and she makes certain all who are near her know about her wishes. She prefers that no extraordinary measures be taken to extend her life.
When specialists finally took a closer look at her lungs they thought maybe she had cancer throughout her lungs. It appeared that she had tumors but it was really scar tissue from the ravages of sarcoid on her lung tissue. The damage to her lungs makes it very difficult to breath. Her lung capacity has been reduced to about 30%. Despite all this my mom still works as a CAN in a nearby hospital in order to keep her health insurance and because she enjoys working. She has taken prednisone, methotrexate along with inhalers to help her breathe.
In addition my mother suffers from the debilitating and painful effects of rheumatoid arthritis. She lives alone on the East coast and has had to use a motorized chair to get to work and function with everyday living. She sings the praises of Enbrel http://www.enbrel.com/index.jspx which is a medication that has helped her regain mobility and significantly reduced the pain of her arthritis.