Four hospitals, a rare disease, and a wheelchair may change her life, but it’s not changing her faith
Elease Hyatt and her husband Michael had a plan for their future. Their camper sat on a piece of land, where they eventually hoped to build their home.
Then one day in September 2017, Elease Hyatt, was leaving a customer in her job as sales manager for the Marlboro Herald Advocate newspaper. She began to experience a headache, nausea and vision impairment among other symptoms.
Realizing that she couldn’t make it back to the office, Elease pulled into a convenience store parking lot across the street from her customer and called her co-workers, describing stroke-like symptoms. Her co-workers rushed to find Elease bent over her steering wheel and they immediately called 911 for help.
Then began a long journey through two states, multiple specialists and four hospitals. The first neurologist said it was a migraine and, unfortunately even if it were a stroke, the time window for treatment to limit a stroke’s effects had passed.
While Elease’s husband Michael waited, a CT scan showed normal results, further strengthening the specialist’s diagnosis of a complex migraine, which can occasionally mimic stroke-like symptoms.
Michael, however, had a feeling that it was more than a migraine. He had Elease transferred to a second hospital, where following further testing, the diagnosis remained “complex migraine.” She was given medication designed to help migraines, but Michael noticed that Elease’s symptoms improved between doses with symptoms reappearing when another dose was administered. Doctors discontinued the medication, Elease improved and was released from the hospital for physical therapy.
Michael remained skeptical as he noticed Elease randomly jerking her head and arms. This led the couple to hospital number three, more tests and a diagnosis that was not a migraine but a general “functional movement disorder.”
In less than 24 hours, the exhausted couple was on the road once again, to hospital number four – a nationally recognized medical center. Its specialists finally narrowed down the diagnosis to a movement disorder known as “Dystonia,” which involves sustained involuntary muscle contractions with twisting, repetitive movements.
Elease’s case is severe, affecting her entire body and confining her to a wheelchair. Elease’s non-epileptic seizures sometimes lock the muscles in her body for hours. Heartbreakingly, this disorder is so rare that there is little research on Dystonia, which further complicates the search for a cure.
Elease’s livelihood and the couple’s future plans sadly had come to a halt. Then, the MEC Trust stepped in.
The Trust provided Elease with funding to assist her with traveling expenses. MEC employees contributed their time and skills to construct a ramp into their camper for Elease’s wheelchair.
Elease’s plans for the future have changed dramatically but not her faith: “I am not giving up and I will never lose my faith in God,” she stated. Elease strives to remain strong and optimistic, praying every day and trusting God alone for her healing.
Despite family assistance and MEC’s help, many needs still remain. If you are interested in helping, visit Elease’s GoFundMe page here.