Hidden Disability Not Believed
No one knew exactly what was happening to Dorothy Smaniotto of Ocean View, New Jersey. In November 2007, she was having breathing troubles and feeling unwell, and her doctor speculated a blood clot on her lung was responsible. But a hospital emergency room found no blood clot.
A month later, she began experiencing slurred speech and left-side paralysis. The EMT crew believed she had experienced a stroke, but the treating physician diagnosed a migraine. At the time, she was only 38 and not in a high-risk group for stroke.
It wasn't until July 2008 when a physician diagnosed antiphosopholipid syndrome (APS). In a telephone interview, Smaniotto said, "That's when I learned I'd already had two strokes and a heart attack." By then, she had lost most vision in her right eye and would have another heart attack in months following.
A National Institutes of Health website defines APS as an autoimmune disorder often called "sticky blood syndrome," which can lead to blood clot formation in veins and arteries. It's treatable.
As for lasting effects from her strokes, she said, "I now have slower speech, short-term memory loss, and left side weakness. I stopped working as a pharmacy technician because my company considered me a liability (after the strokes). I enjoyed my job and had worked almost 25 years for the same company."
With APS, she looks "normal" on the outside. One of her biggest frustrations has been talking with people who don't think she has a disability.
She said, "I know people mean well when they say I don't look sick, but sometimes I just want to scream. It doesn't matter what's happening on the outside. It's what's happening on the inside of my body (that causes problems)."
As if this weren't enough, and unrelated to APS, doctors in 2008 also learned she had Braca-2, which is a family mutation gene causing breast and ovarian cancer. So Smaniotto had a hysterectomy and double mastectomy. Her sister had died of breast cancer and her mother of breast, ovarian, and lung cancer.
Smaniotto authored a book about her experiences, "The Burgundy Journey: Using Hope, Humor and Faith to Conquer Adversity, No Matter What." Also, to find a cure, the APS Foundation of America this year asked Smaniotto to participate in a film documentary to help raise awareness and prod the National Institutes of Health into funding APS research.
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesRenewable Energy Job Training for Local StudentsRoseville - More than 25 local students from Sierra College have now gained invaluable hands-on training for jobs in the fast growing field of renewable energy
Placer SPCA waiving Adoption Fees in DecemberRoseville, CA - The Placer SPCA is thrilled to announce that every animal adoption fee will be waived from December 1st through December 31st
New California Laws 2017 - Part 1Roseville, CA - New California laws for 2017. Part 1 includes racial mascots, immigration, tobacco, marijuana, search warrants, mental health and much more.
27th Annual Holiday Craft Fair in Roseville Roseville, CA - The 27th Annual Holiday Craft Fair in Roseville takes place this Saturday at Maidu Community Center.
Roseville Flash Crime Report: Mail Theft on the RiseRoseville, CA - The Roseville Police Department's public police activity report for the period covering November 15-28, 2016.
Football Championship West in Roseville and RocklinRoseville, CA - The Football University (FBU) National Championship West region games will take place on Dec. 2-5 in Roseville and Rocklin.
Local Businesses Warned About Potential ScamThe California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is warning ABC licensees and the public of a possible scam in both Northern and Southern California involving persons
18th Annual Holiday Show and Sale in RocklinRocklin, CA - The Ridley Gallery at Sierra College Rocklin Campus is proud to announce our Eighteenth Annual Holiday Show and Sale
Volunteer for Elves for the ElderlySeniors First, a Placer County non-profit organization focused on providing programs and services for our area's elderly, is continuing their holiday gift program
Children's Christmas Faire in AuburnAUBURN - Santa is high in demand this season but will be stopping by the Children's Christmas Faire for free photo opportunities for 400 local children
Free Band Concert in Rocklin at Sierra CollegeRocklin, CA - The Sierra College Music Department is proud to present the 33rd Annual Sierra College District High School Honor Band Concert
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Tickets On SaleDisney announced that tickets for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be available online starting Monday, November 28th