By Cort Johnson in Health Rising.
The “Beast” was just twenty-five years old. A physical specimen, David Fajgenbaum went from gym rat to invalid incredibly quickly. First his lymph nodes swelled, then red dots appeared on his chest. This medical resident got so fatigued that he began stealing naps in empty exam rooms. He became temporarily blind in one eye and then in two weeks gained 70 pounds. His ability to think plummeted. His doctors were stumped – cancer, lupus and mononucleosis were all suggested – and discarded.
He slowly improved after treatment with chemotherapy drugs and walked out of the hospital, but a month later his symptoms came rushing back. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed him with Castleman’s Disease – a rare disease that afflicts about 20,000 people in the U.S. – about the same number as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
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