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10. Craig Lewis was dying… and he was dying fast. Doctors said a pacemaker would not help his heart, which was shutting down because of abnormal protein build-up. The 55-year-old man, they said, had only 12 hours to live. Enter Texas Heart Institute doctors Billy Cohn and Bud Frazier. In an emergency like this, it’s time to go with whatever miracle last resort there is, so, on March 12, 2011, after receiving permission from Craig’s wife, the doctors installed a device in Craig’s chest that had only been tried before on calves. Within a day, Craig was awake, aware and talking to doctors. And he did not have a pulse; instead, it was a hum. Unfortunately, Craig died five weeks later from another underlying disease. Doctors confirmed the device was still working perfectly.
9. Gaby Scanlon of Lancashire, England, was thrilled to be out celebrating her 18th birthday with all her friends by drinking it up in a bar. Of course, in England its’ legal to drink at 18. Her friends bought her two Nitro Jagermeisters and she down them both quickly. Immediately, however, she became very ill and was rushed to the hospital. She was only there for minutes before doctors got her into surgery and removed most of her stomach to save her life. The liquid nitrogen in the drinks had perforated her stomach. Gaby will now have to receive special medical treatment for the rest of her life.
8. Alex, of Omaha, Nebraska, suffers from the rare condition of hydranencephaly, or being born with almost no brain. About 90 percents of babies that develop this condition die in the womb. Her parents were told by doctors that she would not live past six months of age. Last year, Alex celebrated her 10th birthday to a Cinderella theme. She requires around-the-clock medical care.
7. Did you know that skin is the largest organ of the body? Remesh is suffering from a rare condition, ichthyosis, that has turned his skin to stone. The thick, black scales started appearing on his body when he was only 15 days old. Now, at age 11, he can hardly walk or talk and is in constant pain. His father, Nanda, makes very little at his job to take care of medical costs, but British singer Jess Stone put on a concert to raise funds for his care.
6. A female reporter wrote about her ordeal with suffering from a nearly perforated colon and the excruciating pain it caused. And she was losing an extreme amount of weight because nutrients could not be absorbed into her body. Eventually, her large bowel was removed and surgeons created a stoma in her abdomen for waste to exit. The procedure was an ileostomy. She said her small intestine now works as her large intestine would. I have to say here that I am more than familiar with her struggles, as I underwent surgery last June 1st for an ileostomy. To say the pain was excruciating before the surgery is almost an understatement. And I too lost a very scary amount of weight before the surgery… 70 pounds. Since the surgery last year, I have regained about 30 pounds, and my strength … even though I walk quite a bit slower … is coming back. Now having a stoma sticking out of your stomach and dealing with the bag that’s attached to it constantly is not at all the best of situations, but I would not give this up for anything to deal with that incredibly horrific pain ever again. And every day is a victory.
5. On the outside, Bethany Jordan looks like a normal, cute little 6-year-old girl. But inside her, it’s practically a jigsaw puzzle, as many of her vital organs are not where they’re supposed to be. And doctors said she wasn’t expected to survive birth. She suffers from the rare Ivemark Syndrome. She was born with a hole in her heart, five spleens on the wrong side of her body, a backwards liver, a right lung formed like the left lung and her stomach on the wrong side. Soon after she was born, her heart failed, a lung collapsed and her liver malfunctioned. Her mother said she was actually doing well despite all of her problems. We at Knowable certainly hope so.
4. When Martha Mason of Lattimer, North Carolina, was 11 years old, she was paralyzed by polio. Doctors only gave here a year. But soon after that, her lungs needed help breathing and she was put into a ventilator machine. She was put into an 7-foot tube, with only her head sticking out, and lived in it for 61 years, with very few exceptions of her being out of it. Her friends say she managed to survive that long because of the support from her family and the community, and, she was driven to learn. Martha died in 2009.
3. Most of us know that a life without kidneys would be impossible. Emmanuel Gitau, of Kenya, was given only three months to live after his kidneys failed, and transplant after transplant did not take. That was almost 10 years ago. He has written a book on his life without kidneys and hopes that it will inspire others.
2. When a 44-year-old Frenchman went to doctors complaining of pain in his leg, they found something that shocked them. His brain was almost entirely missing. Now, we’ve mentioned a case similar to this earlier, but the difference is that this guy is 44, married with two kids and has a white-collar job. And he’s leading a fairly normal life… with only 10 percent of a functioning brain. He was born with the condition but doctors put a shunt in his brain to decrease the excess of fluid. His IQ was slightly lower than that of a normal person’s IQ.
1. It became known as “The Mother of All Surgeries.” After a misdiagnosis of IBS, Pam Pope’s body was shutting down due to an aggressive and rare form of cancer called PMP. Surgeons in the UK would have to remove most all of her vital organs to debulk the body of cancerous cells. So, in a 13-hour operation, surgeons removed her appendix, large bowel, most of the small bowel, her gall bladder, spleen, womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix, as well as most of her stomach lining and navel. Pam survived, and later said: ‘I was told this disease would likely kill me but I’m still here thanks to the ‘mother of all surgeries, which has lifted a death sentence.’
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