Nancy's Experience with FMF

Nancy's Experience
Familial Mediterrean Fever

March 02, 1999

Just a few weeks ago I was diagnosed, with Familial Mediterrean Fever, a disease which I believe that I have had since I was about 8 years old. My doctors and some of my family thought that I was a hypochondriac because of the many and varied symptoms that I presented. I was told ‘it is all in your head.’ I was diagnosed previously and erroneously, it turns out, with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic recurrent chemical depression, sleep apnea, sleep disorder with myoclonus, and Restless Leg Syndrome, colitis, spastic colon, gallbladder inflammation, appendicitis, possible kidney stones with their concurrent problems of vomiting and diahrrea, and so many other things that I can’t even remember them. I had chronic respiratory problems, sinus infections, allergies and asthma. I had even looked into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a possible cause of my problems. All of these things didn’t happen at once, but the diagnoses kept being added and they grew worse as I grew older. Sound like I was a wreck? I was, but I am beginning to improve. It is like a miracle.

I came across the diagnosis of Familial Mediterranean Fever through my genealogical research and that story is told in another paper. Suffice it to say, that I diagnosed myself, told my doctor about it, and asked for the medicine colchicine as a trial. My doctor did not think that I had FMF, even though I had the ancestry, but he was willing to give me a trial prescription. Two hours after I took the first dose, I knew it was going to work.

At the point when I took the medicine, I could not rise from a seated position without pushing or pulling myself up with my hands. My hands, arms, and shoulders in particular were in constant pain, both in the muscles and the joints. I could not hold a cup of coffee or a glass of water without using two hands, no thumbs to hold them. I moaned and groaned as I came down the steps in the morning, turned sideways and taking one step at a time while holding on to the rail with my finger tips from underneath the railing. My brain was foggy; I could not think clearly, nor concentrate for longer than a few minutes. I had trouble doing simple arithmetic in order to balance a checkbook. MY life was miserable. I was very unhappy and I hurt so much at times that I was sure I could not stand it. Stress seemed to make it more intolerable.

The medicine colchicine, which I started taking in 0.06mg daily doses,once daily and now take twice a day, and which the Merck Manual says can be taken in that amount 3 times a day, is made from a plant called the Autumn Crocus which grows in the Mediterranean. It is not harmful taken in small doses for a short time even if you do NOT have the disease. It needs to be carefully monitored by your doctor and is available only through prescription.

I cannot claim to diagnose or prescribe as I am not a doctor. I am a genealogist with a scientific bent. I can tell you my story and tell you what I think, however.

Nancy Sparks Morrison
Roanoke, Virginia 24015
[email protected]

Nancy Sparks Morrison, 1999.


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