University of Virginia Health System
Mike Miller was a healthy 23-year-old. He never got sick. But that all changed suddenly when what he thought was a routine illness put him on a decade-long journey that ended with a kidney transplant at UVA.
Miller thought he had a cold. But when he started coughing up blood, he saw a doctor. He was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Goodpasture’s syndrome, which affects the lung and kidneys.
“I had a complete body shutdown. I couldn’t function,” Miller says. He was admitted to UVA, where he was sedated in the MICU (medical intensive care unit) for five weeks. He had dialysis. A similar process called plasmapheresis removed the harmful antibodies from his body, and immunosuppressive drugs inhibited his immune system “so my body could stop fighting itself.”
There’s no known cause for Goodpasture’s, though exposure to chemicals and viral infections are possible causes, according to the National Institutes of Health.
After five weeks in a hospital bed, Miller had to relearn how to walk, hold a phone and do other everyday activities, so he spent three weeks at UVA HealthSouth for rehabilitation.
But that wasn’t the end of the journey.
Read more: http://uvahealth.com/blog/index.php/2012/04/23/one-employees-kidney-transplant-story/