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This led him to be bedridden for 11 years. The treatments weren’t helping and the doctors didn’t know what to do. That’s when Doug knew he had to take action.
He started researching, trying to find a solution. He had found a 2,200-page endocrinology textbook near a garbage can while he was in college. In this book he found an important passage discussing how adrenal disorders could mirror thyroid disorders.
He kept reading medical textbooks and then hypothesised that a whole class of autonomic nervous-system disorders could exist beyond the established categories of what most endocrinologists or neurologists knew about. Then he kept doing his research, this time using a computer. By this time, Doug realised he needed help.
So he teamed up with scientist curious enough to take on a rare case and spend long hours with him parsing it out, by going to a science conference. His partner was Dr. H. Cecil Coghlan, a medical professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Doug’s first solution came in 2004: a drug. Then Dr. H. Cecil Coghlan told him he might have an adrenal tumour. But three scans of his adrenal glands all came back negative.
So he made a fourth scan that showed his adrenals "glowing brightly," Thus was abnormality consistent with his new theory. His partner confirmed the diagnosis: bilateral adrenal medullary hyperplasia. It means that medullas, or inner regions, of his adrenal glands, were enlarged and acting like tumours. His adrenal glands were producing way too much adrenaline. They found only 32 recorded cases of bilateral adrenal medullary hyperplasia.
Now, for Doug, the solution was simple: to cut out medullas of his adrenal glands.
Dr. Chris Bauer, Lindsay's personal physician, considered this an "atypical presentation of a rare disease", adding: "they don't really write textbooks based on that”.
So Doug proposed a new surgery that would cure himself. “If there isn't a surgery, I'm going to make one”, the patient said.
In 2008, the innovator found a 1980 study from a scientist at Georgia State University, which he summed up as: "you slice the rat's adrenal gland with a razor blade and squeeze it so the medulla pops out like a pimple." Then he found that another version of the adrenal medulla extraction had been done at Harvard. All of these leads made him create a 363-page PDF which proposed a first-ever human adrenal medullectomy.
The chosen doctor to perform was a surgeon from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. In September 2010 Doug went to the university hospital, where the doctor successfully extracted one of his adrenal medullas. In 2012, he underwent a second surgery to remove the medulla from his remaining adrenal gland.
By early 2014, he was coming off some of his meds.
In 2019, the pioneer is still on meds. But he can have a normal life.
Adapted from: https://cnn.it/2YoXB3W
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