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.