Yes Virginia, it’s not Virus

I just want to set the record straight. Mariel’s illness was not caused by any virus or something like it . It’s not something she caught in our recent trip abroad or acquired thru something she did or did not do. It’s not SARS, Bird Flu, not even TB. Mariel was healthier than just about most of us until something probably triggered the chain of events in her system.

I’ve been told that Connective Tissue Disease is simply her OWN antibodies deciding to stage a mutiny. The very same antibodies which are present in ALL of us, suddenly deciding to attack the very same person it was meant to protect. In this case, the love of my life, Mariel.

It’s a cruel disease because it gave no real warning. Unfortunately, its also something Medical Science has not really found a true “cure” for at the moment. At best, Medicine can just try to mitigate or slow down its harmful symptoms. I beg doctors who may be reading this to please jump in and enlighten us all on this dark, treacherous disease.

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Is there a doctor in the house? (part 2)

I loved Mariel so much. More rantings about Undifferentiated Connective Tissue wont bring her back. But, as much as it hurts retelling her illness, I must try to find out. So that others wont have to suffer. So others will stand a chance. Mariel would have google- searched till she gets an answer. She is thorough. Saving others will surely make her happy.

Is low hemoglobin count a relevant marker or precursor for her sickness? She had this come out of her blood chem results consistently the last few months before she went to the hospital. But as usual she was asked to take Iberet or Iron supplements and come back after 4 weeks. Just asking?

Is there a doctor in the house?

I lost my Mariel to Interstitial Lung Disease caused by Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. Barely six weeks after we checked with a dermatologist to complain about some ordinary rashes and fever. ( We were even discharged earlier at another hospital for what they thought was merely a viral infection, after ruling out Dengue ).

C3 ANA test, Lupus panel, Malaria check, TB check, Typhoid check, X-rays, Punch biopsy, Hi-res CT scan all proved negative initially. Until one day, someone mentioned interstitial blah blah. Medrol, Plaquinil, Azythromycin, Pulse therapy, Rituximab, Deep Vein 2-D echo, ICU,Ventilator later didn’t seem to help. I know the doctors did the best they could, but is there really something more I could have done for Mariel? I was with Mariel 24/7 in the last 10 days at the hospital. I suffered too with every dip of the Oximeter, that painful alarm, the Spirometer torture machine and Mariel’s every brave attempt to fight off the disease. She kept strong faith in God through it all until He took her on Sept. 20, 2007. The only reason perhaps I could not bring myself to “hate” God for what happened to her was the fact that she suffered more than my whining self and never wavered. Thus, Mariel is my angel for saving my soul.

Undifferentiated Connective Tissue disease is a cruel, strange, kilometric, treacherous, despicable, double- barreled snob of a disease. I will fight it now for Mariel through my own dying breath.