VF in the News

Ben’s Story

My name is Ben. I was diagnosed with P-ANCA Vasculitis in November 2007. Up to that point the only major medical issue I faced in 27 years was the removal of two ingrown toenails. For a month and a half I had a pain in my chest and head, no appetite, no energy and could not sleep well because it hurt to take deep breaths. It was frustrating not to know what was wrong. I missed multiple days of work, church and social events. I was a shell of myself, hurting on the couch every night.

I ended up in the hospital following my second ER visit. While at the ER, a blood test revealed my creatinine was at 3.5 and I was introduced to my nephrologist, Dr. Troy Zabel, who explained what was wrong after looking at my kidney biopsy results. Finally, answers!

Even though it was a great shock to hear I had an autoimmune disease, it was a relief to know what was going on and that there was a plan to deal with it. The vasculitis wreaked havoc on my kidneys. I was on Cytoxan and prednisone for a year and gained 45 pounds. After my diagnosis I had two more hospital visits to address inflammation on my heart and lungs. During the second visit I met my rheumatologist, Dr. Cherie Reichart.

I am on maintenance drugs (Azathioprine) and have been in remission since September 2008. It has taken me a while to feel “normal”. This spring and summer, I enjoyed playing softball and tennis. I have more energy! I am looking forward to playing some flag football with friends this fall.

I cannot imagine going through this experience without faith in God. I cried at night in my hospital bed after my diagnosis but reliance on God and friends and family have helped me look forward to the future. I am so thankful to be a patient of Dr. Zabel and Dr. Reichart. I feel truly blessed!

Published: January 2011

To read more stories, please visit the Vasculitis Stories landing page.