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 HeadlinesWINEderlust Renegade Wine Festival August 26thPLACERVILLE, CALIF. - El Dorado Winery Association is proud to present its first-annual celebration of renegades, rebels and rabble-rousers at the WINEderlust Renegade Wine Festival
Roseville Flash Crime Report (7.21.17)Digest summary update of Roseville police activity for the period covering July 6- 17, 2017.
John Adams Academy Expanding with Lincoln CampusLincoln, CA - Officials from John Adams Academy (JAA) charter school announced they have secured a site in Lincoln to house their public charter school program
WJU Athletics Sign Jaydon ClarkROCKLIN, Calif. - The Warriors men's basketball program led by head coach Lance Von Vogt welcome freshman Jaydon Clark to the 2017-18 recruiting class.
Santucci Memorial Golf Tournament slated for SeptemberRoseville, Calif., - The 14th annual Bill Santucci Memorial Golf Tournament will take place Friday, Sept. 29 at Sierra View Country Club in Roseville.
PlacerArts Presents the 24th Annual Auburn Art WalkAuburn, CA - The annual Auburn Art Walk presented by PlacerArts will take place on Friday, Aug. 4
Celebration for New Roseville Center for Sierra CollegeRoseville, Calif., - Sierra College invites the public to see its state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities at the new Roseville Center location in the heart of Roseville's Town Square
Paul Bancroft appointed to Sierra College BoardTruckee, CA -Kings Beach resident Paul Bancroft has been appointed to the Sierra College Board of Trustees. Bancroft will represent Area 2 and replaces Dave Ferrari who retired
Walmart Pays to Resolve Allegations of Violating Federal False Claims ActSACRAMENTO, Calif. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has paid $1.65 million to resolve allegations that it violated the federal False Claims Act when it knowingly submitted claims
Viva la Tomato at the Midtown Farmers MarketSACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Midtown Association (MA) is pleased to announce exciting special activities happening in July - many designed to celebrate Sacratomato Week
Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard Expansion in RosevilleRoseville, CA- Expect delays for the next few months if you plan on traveling down Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard.
Granite Arch on Alzheimer's Memorial Wall a Tribute to President Ronald ReaganSacramento, CA - East Lawn Memorial Park is proud to unveil a granite arch on its historic Alzheimer's Memorial Wall on Saturday, July 22 at 10 a.m