On February 28th, dubbed National Rare Disease Day, a man from Colorado openly talked to reporters about his rare condition, hereditary angioedema. Tad Rockwell has been battling with his unusual condition that causes spontaneous swelling of various parts of the body and internal organs, more specifically the small intestine, since his childhood years. Because of the uncommonness of his disease, doctors misdiagnosed him dozens of times. However, a physician caught on to his condition and said he was, in fact, suffering from a disease that affects only one in 50,000 individuals.
As reporters entered his home, the man introduced them to the array of drugs he has to take twice a week to keep his condition in check. Tad Rockwell said the first attack took place when he was only five years old. At the time, physicians told his family he was most likely bitten by a spider, even though no mark was visible. Several years passed and as time dragged on, he started to document the swelling episodes with photos. The pictures show the man’s face swelling up to the point that he was unable to close his mouth.
During his teenage years, Tad recalls having what doctors described as mystery food poisoning episodes. Once again, he was misdiagnosed and believed to have a sensitive stomach. After living most of his live oblivious to his condition, a doctor finally shed light on the matter and presented him with the correct diagnosis. According to statistics, there are approximately 180 other people sharing Tad Rockwell’s struggle in Colorado, he said.
The young doctor who identified the mysterious condition explained Tad’s body was unable to produce the sufficient amount of plasma, hence his health issues. Luckily, the condition is easily treated with simple solutions and donated plasma. Today, the man is able to administer the drug on his own twice a week. Tad Rockwell said he had been swelling-free for approximately four years. On National Rare Disease Day, he wished to present his story to the broad public to raise awareness about people with uncommon conditions and their struggle and to encourage others to donate plasma. Ultimately, he also had a message for those going through similar hardship: “Don’t give up hope!”.
Image Source: Youtube
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