Ventura County Star | Tom Kisken
Karen Erickson was told she had two years to live 11 years ago.
The 45-year-old Thousand Oaks woman with lungs that work at less than 20 percent was diagnosed with a disease so little-known that the physician's assistant who delivered the news didn't get it quite right.
"She said: 'You have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Your body is eating your own lungs,' " Erickson said. "She said, 'There's no cure, but if we get you on treatment, we think we could get you a couple more years.' ... I thought: What the hell?"
Today, the biotech training manager wears a black backpack for the small tank that delivers oxygen through clear tubes that hiss when she inhales. She uses two tanks when she pedals the wheels of her stationary bike at a speed that wouldn't keep her upright outdoors.
Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jan/29/little-known-disease-pushes-life-to-the-edge/#ixzz1kzBNV9Cs