Why am I sick? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Why am I sick?

(NBC Newschannel) - Millions of Americans struggle with fears of being sick, and spend years searching for a diagnosis.

Valerie Duffy used to be afraid every time she sat down to eat.

"I always just had horrible stomach aches," she said.

For Greg Shea, even walking a line was impossible four years ago.

"Walking to the point that I had to use a wheelchair," he said. "It was a very scary time, because you just didn't know what was wrong."

All three of them couldn't figure out what was wrong with them.

It turned out Duffy had celiac disease, where the immune system attacks the small intestine when she eats food containing gluten.

Looking back, she realizes she had it all her life.

She's now on a gluten-free diet.

"You trace it back and it just all makes sense," she said.

Abbate was initially diagnosed with four different viruses at first, but then found out she has fibromyalgia. Symptoms include pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and fever.

No one knows what causes it but it strikes nearly 10 times as many women as men.

Abbate's doctor, Dr. Patrick Massey, relieves her fatigue with a mixture of B vitamins and minerals.

He said so many doctors depend on lab tests to diagnose diseases that they are hard to pinpoint.

"With fibromyalgia, there's really no blood test, no radiologic test -- there's really nothing other than a physical exam and the history that would tell us that the patient has fibromyalgia," Massey said.

Shea's doctor, Dr. Dusan Stefoski, figured out he has multiple sclerosis, a disease in which the immune system attacks the body.

The symptoms can be elusive, sometimes mimicking other diseases, and even disappearing before they can be diagnosed.

"Years go by and MS can progress stealthily under the surface, where the person doesn't feel much and the doctors may not see anything," Stefoski said.

Fortunately, Shea now knows what he has, and benefits from a growing list of new medications.
Two other often-misdiagnosed conditions are lupus and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Lupus can attack so many parts of the body and the symptoms are confusingly broad.

With chronic fatigue syndrome, the only consistent physical sign is extreme exhaustion. For now, there are no diagnostic lab tests.
But for people like Abbate, who finally have a diagnosis, the one thing that really helped was refusing to give up.

"If a doctor says that there's no such thing, walk out of the office," she said. "Because there are doctors who will treat you."

  • News on WMCTV.comNewsMore>>

  • Holly Springs man gunned down 1 week before wedding

    Holly Springs man gunned down 1 week before wedding

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:47 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:47:19 GMT
    Terry Halloway (Source: submission)Terry Halloway (Source: submission)

    Police in Holly Springs are investigating after a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the area of West College Avenue near McKinney Street.

    More >>

    Police in Holly Springs are investigating after a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the area of West College Avenue near McKinney Street.

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT: Timing for weekend rain and storms

    FIRST ALERT: Timing for weekend rain and storms

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:43 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:43:14 GMT
    There will be a couple of rounds of showers and storms this weekend.  * Storms continue overnight * Windy & mild * Flash flooding possible A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect Sunday 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Watch out for flash flooding, as 1-3 inches and locally higher amounts may be seen throughout the day Sunday, mainly from Memphis west into AR. TONIGHT: Scattered showers and overnight storms. Windy and warm. Winds: S 15-25 mph. Low: 71. THIS WEEKEND:&...More >>
    There will be a couple of rounds of showers and storms this weekend.  * Storms continue overnight * Windy & mild * Flash flooding possible A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect Sunday 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Watch out for flash flooding, as 1-3 inches and locally higher amounts may be seen throughout the day Sunday, mainly from Memphis west into AR. TONIGHT: Scattered showers and overnight storms. Windy and warm. Winds: S 15-25 mph. Low: 71. THIS WEEKEND:&...More >>
  • Mr. Belding meets fans at Redbirds game

    Mr. Belding meets fans at Redbirds game

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:39 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:39:58 GMT

    Dennis Haskins, who played the principal America fell in love with on "Saved By The Bell," was at the Memphis Redbirds game greeting fans as part of a 90s night promotion. 

    More >>

    Dennis Haskins, who played the principal America fell in love with on "Saved By The Bell," was at the Memphis Redbirds game greeting fans as part of a 90s night promotion. 

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    More >>
  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    Officials: 5 dead during weekend storms, casualties may increase

    Officials: 5 dead during weekend storms, casualties may increase

    Sunday, April 30 2017 12:31 AM EDT2017-04-30 04:31:34 GMT

    Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Saturday for multiple East Texas counties.

    More >>

    Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Saturday for multiple East Texas counties.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly