Medical Mystery: A woman endures multiple surgeries when a wound will not heal
The question reflected Kristrinah Ayala’s increasing desperation, and her attempt to make sense of her 18-month ordeal. “I’m a therapist,” she told the Washington rheumatologist who began treating her in the fall of 2011. “Is it possible that this problem is all in my head?”
Ayala’s anguish and the nature of her question took Victoria Shanmugam, an assistant professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, aback.
Shanmugam says she quickly reassured Ayala that the painful, five-inch-long open wound at the back of her knee was not a product of her psyche but the manifestation of a serious physical problem that a team of specialists at Georgetown were struggling to diagnose.
After 10 failed surgeries, no one knew whether Ayala’s wound, which had refused to heal for more than a year, was caused by her lupus — an underlying autoimmune disorder that can impede healing — or an infection. And if it was an infection, why had multiple tests failed to identify a bacterial culprit?
“It felt like a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from,” Ayala, 57, recalled. “That wound was just sapping my existence.”
Some of that sounds pretty familiar, huh? Be sure to read the entire article here, and thanks for sharing, Hannah!