reggie white had sarcoidosis

Wisconsin State Journal

the minister of defense, former philadelphia eagle, reggie white - i loved reggie. he was great for the community, a great player, a holy man amongst the unlikely setting of professoinal football. he succumbed to the same disease i was diagnosed with in the summer of 1997.

i remember that summer very clearly. i came home from work and my left foot had hurt, pretty badly all day. i took my shoe off and to my astonishment, my ankle was swollen to the point of being unrecognizable. how odd. nothing hurt, i didn't recall falling (which i would, i can assure you, since i am the queen of broken bones). within days, i developed a severe tightness in my chest and extreme difficulty breathing. after being sent to two specialists within days of my symptoms appearing, i was given the preliminary diagnosis of sarcoid. of the lungs. it was further confirmed through a grueling bronchoscopy and surgery to rule out hodgkins disease that i had sarcoidosis, a condition found primarily in blacks and northern europeans. go figure, i was neither, but i now have a metal clip near my sternum to prove that dr. weber had been there.

i am now (and have been) remission for a strange disease that plagued me for months. i couldn't talk on the phone and wash dishes at the same time because of the poor quality of my lung functions. i couldn't talk and weed the garden; couldn't walk and carry on conversations. it was very difficult, every breath i took, and was really happy i had discontinued my smoking habit four years prior to the onset. i could never imagine compromising my ability to breathe again.

i can actually say i feel for what he went through, although his progressed to cardiac involvement and mine, so far (thank you Lord) has not. i was struck with sadness to hear of his passing, and now, am struck a little bit closer to home when i heard what his passing was due from, even though it may take up to three months for the confirming reports.


Julie M. said...

I am glad to hear you are in remission from this! Since I've had asthma for as long as I can remember, I can definitely understand not being able to breathe. My prayers are with you that it doesn't come back.

Rev. Mike said...

You know, it's interesting to Google this "rare" disease and read how many people there are like you and me who are writing about their own experience with sarcoid now that Reggie White's unfortunate death has raised its profile. I found the blog of a radio DJ who had a severe bout and was misdiagnosed, as was Karen Duffy, the MTV Vee Jay. She was diagnosed with cancer and had even undergone some chemo! Hopefully, the tragedy of Reggie's death will wake up some of the doctors who seem not to know much about this disease.

~m2~ said...

having sarcoid is something that now, is in the back of my mind, until this thing with reggie white came up. i have gotten on with my life and try not to think about that year which was relegated to doctor visits, very uncomfortable in- and out-patient testing, worry, and downright fright. this all came, i should add, on the heels of converting to Catholicism, which conversion ended up being a true test of my faith, all in all.

you don't realize how much you take for granted your breathing until it is labored. in fact, a woman i know from church, whom i hadn't seen for a good two weeks, came back today after recuping from pneumonia. she said she had no elasticity in her left lung any more and should be on a breathing machine at night for her apnea - i really feel for her because she always has shortness of breath and once you've had it yourself, you see it and *feel it* with other people.

thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be asymptomatic. amen :)