Backpacking for Behcet's Disease
In 2008, I suddenly felt like I had the flu. I was so exhausted that it felt like I was trying to run in a pool with a wet wool blanket on me. I had these strange rashes, and soon after, started getting weird neurological symptoms, like suddenly I couldn't feel my feet from the ankle down. Or another time, I was walking into work, and I couldn't feel my clothes. It's not that I was cognizant of my clothes before, but when you suddenly can't feel them, you know! I panicked as I thought I was standing in my employer's parking lot, naked. Luckily, when I looked down, I of course, was fully dressed.
More and more symptoms started happening. More and more frustrating doctor's visits occurred. Finally, after 3 years of seeing local doctors, I went to a doctor at a tertiary hospital in Los Angeles and was diagnosed.
I have Behcet's Disease. Behcet's Disease is a rare inflammatory autoimmune disorder. The disease can lead to numerous signs and symptoms within body’s systems.
After my diagnosis, I was relieved. Although there is no cure, I started receiving treatment to help me deal with my symptoms. This was a new beginning of a long road of disappointing treatments and harsh side effects. Years later, I'm now on a good treatment regime that is largely effective with virtually no side effects.
WHY I BACKPACK FOR BEHCET'S DISEASE
More research desperately needs done on the disease itself and on better treatment options, which is why I backpack (and hike) for Behcet's Disease Awareness.
When I was first diagnosed with Behcet's Disease, I was too sick to even think about backpacking or hiking, dealing with extreme exhaustion and pain. Now I backpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains (California) several times a year. I've also hiked/backpacked in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley National Park, Czech Republic, Romania, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Turkey, and Austria. I hope by continuing to hike and talking to everyone along the way, I keep raising awareness for this rare disease and inspire others who have been diagnosed to find something they love too.
HOW BURGEON OUTDOOR GEAR HELPS ME
Since my body temperature fluctuates due to having autonomic system dysfunctions from my disease and because of the activity itself, I need moisture-wicking, thermo-regulating clothes. Burgeon Outdoor base layers do just that. And their clothing is extremely comfortable and attractive looking – a bonus!
About Cindy Todd
Cindy was invited to pharmaceutical companies to talk about treatments and her personal experience with Behcet’s Disease. She has also written articles for Europe’s Rare Disease Organization & the American Vasculitis Foundation. She has also written a book about her plight & her cause.