College Drop Out Bedridden For 11 Yrs, He Invented Surgery For His Unknown Disease & Cured Himself

Source: CNN

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In 1999, 21-year-old Doug Lindsay from Missouri, USA was an ambitious and spirited freshman at Rockhurst University, who dreamt of becoming a professor of Biochemistry someday or alternatively, a writer for ‘The Simpsons’. Lindsay had been a regular track athlete during his high school and would probably have continued the same in college, had tragedy not struck him so shockingly. 

His first day in college had been quite eventful. Little did he know that what dinnertime had in store for him. The same evening, Lindsay suddenly felt exceedingly dizzy and collapsed at the dining table. Helpless, he tried to stand up but felt intense fatigue overpowering his senses. That was how a prolonged ordeal of 11 years started for Lindsay. 

For the next decade and a year more, till 2011, Lindsay stayed bedridden. He was affected by one of the rarest health disorders which even acclaimed doctors failed to diagnose. As a result, no specific medication was administered to him and his condition showed little hope of improving. 

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

The ‘Family Curse’

Incidentally, similar ailment patterns prevailed in the Lindsay family. His own mother had followed a trail of gradually weakening health. In fact, she had lost her ability to walk on her own when her son was barely four years old. She had also stayed bedridden most of her life, till her demise in 2016.

Lindsay’s aunt was a victim of the same strange family ailment which rendered her extremely weak, even incapable of tying her own shoelaces. When Lindsay also fell prey to the disease at the prime of his youth, his family inevitably referred to the condition as the ‘family curse’. Her mother had a vague idea that their condition was due to malfunctioning of thyroid hormones.

Lindsay knew he was the sole fighter in the battle with his life and nobody, other than himself, could help him in regaining normalcy. In college, he had taken up Biology as his major, which sadly he could not pursue as his health forced him to drop out. But, the zeal to get better thrived in his heart all along, even at a time when he was confined to his bed, day in and day out.

Pursuing Medical Research From His Bed

Armed with an iron determination, Lindsay immersed himself in full-time medical research from his bed, trying to find a cure for himself. He also regularly interacted with physicians from all domains of specialisation. Every physician or medical researcher were at their wit’s end with Lindsay’s condition. Frustrated, one of them even referred him to a psychiatrist.

When nothing else was working, Lindsay was casually glancing through the pages of an endocrinology book he had once picked up from near a trash can in his college. Little did he know that the answer to his biggest question was hidden there.

One particular section of the book briefly mentioned how malfunctions of adrenal glands can often be misconstrued as thyroid disorders due to similar symptoms. The idea struck Lindsay since thyroid treatment has always proven to be ineffective for their ‘family curse’. He continued delving deeper into adrenal gland disorders, browsing through his collection of vintage medical books and the internet.

Hundreds Of Scientists Dismissed Him, Only One Doctor Trusted Lindsay

Lindsay chanced upon the website of  National Dysautonomia Research Foundation whose research domain was aligned to his interest. Though their latest research outcomes failed to pinpoint Lindsay’s disease, he did learn a great deal about adrenal disorders and their manifestations, accelerating his personal research.

Now Lindsay sought a research partner from among experts in medical research. In that pursuit, he attended the annual conference of American Autonomic Society in South Carolina in 2002, after spending his last penny to buy tickets for an entire row in flight, because he had to lay across and fly.

The conference saw the attendance of the whos who of the global medical fraternity. In his speech at the event, Lindsay tried to convince everyone about his findings on his own ailment. Quite expectedly, most of the dignitaries brushed his claims aside, considering him a mere college dropout. But, Dr H.C. Coghlan from the University of Alabama-Birmingham met with him separately, expressing his faith in Lindsay’s research.

Finally Identifying His Rare Disease

Teaming up with Dr Coghlan, Lindsay continued his search for truth. He soon arrived at the conclusion that a continuous intravenous administration of noradrenaline will counter his excess adrenaline secretion. He convinced Dr Coghlan about the same, and stayed on a 24X7 noradrenaline drip for the next six years, through a major part of his twenties. This was a success, as it increased his energy levels and allowed him to be active around the house. Lindsay was seeing hope again.

He had long suspected a tumour in his adrenal glands was responsible for the disorder. But, his biopsy results and scan reports came negative. However, the fourth time his scan report had an unusual finding – his adrenal glands were ‘glowing brightly’.

That’s when Dr Coghlan finally identified his disease – bilateral adrenal medullary hyperplasia – a rare condition where adrenal glands behave as tumours without any malignancy. Globally, only 32 cases of the disease had been recorded since the inception of modern medicine.

From Being Bedridden To Holidaying In Bahamas

Unfortunately, there was no existent surgery to restore the adrenal glands to normalcy in such cases. But an adamant Lindsay wanted to ‘invent’ one for himself. He was iron-willed to get cured.

Lindsay again got absorbed into medical literature and case studies and identified few instances of similar surgery on animals. But, no surgeon of commendable repute was willing to risk their license by performing an unsolicited surgery. Finally, in September 2010, one surgeon from University of Alabama-Birmingham successfully extracted the danger element – the adrenal medulla from one of his glands.

Within weeks from the surgery, Lindsay could sit up again. Within a few months, he could walk easily for up to a mile. After a similar surgery on his other adrenal gland, he even vacationed in the Bahamas with his friends and even was allowed to discontinue a few of his medications.

Now A Motivational Speaker & Medical Consultant

Dr Coghlan passed away in 2015 after seeing Lindsay’s remarkable turnaround. In 2016, Lindsay lost his mother, as she was too frail to undergo a surgery like her son. Now, at 41 years of age, Doug Lindsay is a prominent motivational speaker and a medical consultant.

He still has to depend on nine medications per day. Yet, nothing can be more rewarding for Lindsay than being able to travel around the world and helping other distressed souls with little hopes to survive.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

Source: CNN

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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