A man from Missouri was left in bed for 11 years because of an adrenal disorder before coming up with an operation that healed him.
Doug Lindsay, a biology graduate, had just completed his first day of classes during his final year in the fall of 1999 when he collapsed.
He felt so weak and dizzy in the days that followed that he had to stop studying and spend most of his days in a bed in his parental home in St. Louis.
Lindsay has read medical research for many years and visited several specialists, none of whom could find out what was wrong CNN.
Finally, after working with a professor specializing in disorders of the autonomic nervous system, he discovered that the cells in the middle of his adrenal glands had been enlarged and producing too much adrenaline.
Without an operation that could cure him of his condition, Lindsay decided to invent one.
He theorized that cutting the middle of his adrenal glands could improve his health. After persuading a surgeon to perform the procedure, he could finally sit up for several hours and even walk a mile.
Lindsay, 41, is now a medical adviser and advises doctors when they receive patients with rare diseases.
Doug Lindsay, from St. Louis, Missouri, collapsed in the fall of 1999 when he was in his final year of his studies. Pictured: Lindsay bedridden in his 20s
He became so weak and dizzy that he became bedridden for 11 years and had to stop studying. Pictured: Lindsay tells his story during a TEDx event in St. Louis
Lindsay told CNN that several members of his family had similar health problems.
His mother struggled to pick him up at the age of one and she was unable to walk by the time he was four years old.
He also said that his aunt was too weak to tie her own shoes.
When Lindsay collapsed after his first day at Rockhurst University, a Jesuit college in Kansas City, he first called his mother.
& # 39; When I called my mother that night to tell her to quit (from college), we both knew, & # 39; he said to CNN.
Lindsay spent 22 hours a day in bed. He just got up to eat or use the bathroom.
He saw several doctors, including an endocrinologist, a specialist in internal medicine, a neurologist – and was even referred to a psychiatrist, CNN reported.
However, no doctor could figure out what it was, he read a passage in a handbook on endocrinology that discussed how adrenal disorders can be compared to thyroid disorders.
The adrenal glands are small and triangular acorns that sit above each kidney, producing hormones to regulate metabolism, blood pressure and other functions.
Lindsay began to read more medical textbooks, purchased a computer for research, and attended the annual conference of the American Autonomic Society in 2002.
Lindsay collaborated with a medical professor and eventually discovered that he had bilateral adrenal medullary hyperplasia. Pictured: Lindsay (in a wheelchair) and his friend at the University of Pennsylvania for a meeting of the Society for Amateur Scientists in 2002
This happens when the medulla, in the middle of the adrenal glands that produce hormones, are enlarged and release too much adrenaline. However, there was no procedure for people who could cure Lindsay (left and right)
In front of a crowd in his wheelchair, Lindsay told specialists that he believed he had a disease so rare that he wasn't in textbooks.
EXPLANATION OF BILATERAL ADRENAL MEDULLARY HYPERLPLASIA
The adrenal glands are small, triangular glands. One is above every kidney.
They produce hormones that help regulate the immune system, metabolism, blood pressure and other functions.
The adrenal marrow is located in the middle and produces adrenaline, known as the & # 39; stress hormones & # 39 ;.
When the medulla is enlarged, it is when adrenal medullary hyperplasia.
Bilateral means that it occurs in both adrenals.
The medulla works like a tumor and presses on the adrenal glands, which excretes too much adrenaline in the body.
It is so rare that it is unknown how many people have the condition.
Treatments include drugs that act as a counterbalance to excess adrenaline or surgery.
The procedure, known as an adrenal medullectomy, removes the medulla and – in essence – & # 39; heals & # 39; the patient.
Most did not believe or disagree with him, but Dr. H Cecil Coghlan, then a professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, did not.
Lindsay theorized that his body produced excessive adrenaline – a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in stress conditions.
He convinced Dr. Coghlan to use an IV to pump it with a drug called Levophed, which counteracts the effects of too much adrenaline, CNN reported.
Lindsay was connected to the IV 24/7 for six years and although he was still bedridden, he was able to get up for longer periods than before.
Dr. Coghlan believed that Lindsay might have had an adrenal tumor, but three separate scans showed he didn't
But in 2006, a fourth scan showed its adrenal glands & # 39; brightly glowing & # 39 ;, according to CNN.
After some medical literature research Dr. Coghlan and Lindsay a diagnosis of bilateral adrenal medullary hyperplasia.
This happens when the adrenal marrow, which sits in the middle of the gland and secretes hormones, becomes too large. They push on the gland, like a tumor, which releases excess adrenaline in the body.
Lindsay found only 32 cases at the time, but theorized that if surgeons were able to switch off the medullas, he could regain his mobility.
After reading similar procedures that were performed on animals, Lindsay invented an operation where the medullas would be cut from each gland. Pictured: Lindsay during a research conference in 2002
He had the first operation performed in September 2010 and the second in 2012. On the photo: Lindsay in conversation with Dr. H Cecil Coghlan, with whom he worked for many years, in 2002
But there was no such operation back then, so Lindsay decided to invent one.
In 2008, he found a study from 1980 at Georgia State University that had removed the medullas from adrenal glands in rats, CNN reported.
Lindsay discovered other cases of the procedure that was performed on cats and dogs.
He made a PDF file of the operation, the first human adrenal medullectomy, and started pitching it to surgeons.
Lindsay (41) is now a medical adviser and travels throughout the country to attend medical schools and conferences. Pictured: Lindsay gives a speech at his alma mater, De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis
After 18 months, a surgeon of the University of Alabama-Birmingham agreed to the procedure on one of the adrenal glands of Lindsay in September 2010.
According to CNN, Lindsay had enough strength to walk a mile within three months – something he hadn't done in 11 years.
In 2012 he was operated on again Washington University in St. Louis to remove the other medulla.
The following year he felt strong enough to fly to Bahamas with his friends on vacation, his first time he left the US.
Unfortunately, Lindsay's maternal disease was too vulnerable to undergo the same operation and she died in 2016.
Lindsay graduated from Rockhurst University that same year with a bachelor's degree in biology.
Today, he takes nine medications and does not have much physical endurance – but he has embarked on a new career as a medical consultant and professional speaker.
He speaks at medical schools and conferences and even gives speeches at the start.
& # 39; I got help from people and now I have to help people & # 39 ;, Lindsay told CNN.
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