by Fariba Vadpey
It was March 19, 1991, that they diagnosed me with pemphigus. It was the fourth appointment in the dental office. I came back home and I noticed a lesion in my mouth. The doctor didn’t know what was wrong. They sent me to the oral surgeon. He gave me some medicine to wash my mouth with. It got worse so they sent me to my Dermatologist and they did the biopsy. They said it was pemphigus vulgaris (after two months).
They started me on 40 mg of prednisone. At that time, I was going to college and I was married for three years. I was too young to have this serious disease. After 9 months, I saw Dr. Lozada-Nur at UCSF for a second opinion. She started me on Imuran. I got better, but because of my curious nature, I am always researching in articles and magazines about this disease and people who had it years ago and what happened.
The first two years I was in denial because I was too young for this trauma. I hadn’t finished my college and I didn’t have a baby yet. Until 1994, I was off and on prednisone and Imuran. In 1994, I finished college and I decided to get pregnant because it was time to have a baby, and I hoped to get better by changing a lot of hormones in my body. But, unfortunately, I got much worse and with a lot of complications including: diabetes, premature labor, recurrent infections. But, someone, somewhere, wanted me to have this beautiful and healthy baby boy without any blister on his body.
I had the worst condition that anyone could imagine after two months of my c-section. Again, I was on high dose of prednisone and Imuran for two years. During these years, I always was searching for any alternative medicine or herbs. I tried Chinese herbs for a while, but because of the medicines that I was taking, I didn’t have a lot of good results. I saw a nutritionist and I learned a lot of good tips about nutrition. I changed my eating habits.
I bought Eat Right For your Type and it helped me a lot. Gradually, I got better, but not in remission. In 1997, I saw news in the Foundation’s Quarterly about a new drug called CellCept that has fewer side effects than Imuran. I asked my doctor to change my medication. I was taking it for two and a half years. By the way, I was under the care of a good specialist at Stanford Medical Center by the name of Dr. Peter Marinkovitch by that time. I forgot to mention that from 1994 I found an angel called Janet (at the Pemphigus Foundation). She helped me a lot with all the information that I needed.
Because of my age, and a lot of responsibility that I felt toward my baby and my very supportive husband, I always wanted to get free of this horrible disease, so I asked my doctor about any other procedures that were available. He told me about IVIg. It was so new for me, and, at first, I was a little scared. After a little bit of research, we were convinced to do it. In August, 1999 everything was ready. They did the IVIg for six months and I got much better. So because of the good results after three months, they did another six months. By that time, my precious mom was here to help me emotionally and physically.
By August 2000, I was free of pemphigus. I was still taking 20mg of prednisone (every other day) and after three months later, I stopped the prednisone with the permission of my doctor. Now I am writing this letter in 2002. I am free of pemphigus with a zero titer count twice.
I wanted to tell you that after they finished the IVIg, I was so happy and at peace with my life after nine years. I didn’t have to go to the cabinet every night to take these medicines. However, after one month of finishing IVIg, I received a call from my sister that my mom, age 54 passed away (because of the disease that she had for years).
That night I said to myself, I really believe now that life is like school – you graduate from one exam and then there is the next one!! Believe me, some human beings have more difficult lessons than others. Never say, “Why me?”
All these years I never lost hope. I followed my heart. I tried my best and GOD helped me to find the way. Good luck to all of you guys. I am always willing to help anyone who needs any information about the things that I have done so far. (My phone number is in the Heart2Heart section of the Quarterly.) The names of the books that helped me this battle:
- Eat Right For Your Type
- Creating Health by Deepak Chopra
- Spontaneous Healing by Dr. Andrew Weil
- Meditation classes and practicing a lot at home
- Yoga exercise