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She Lived With A Mystery Disease For A Decade, Then Her Handyman Discovered Why

Inside Edition

Sadly, there's no shortage of stories about women being misdiagnosed by their doctors.

These mistakes can be dangerous - and even deadly - for the women who get the incorrect information about their health.

But some cases are even worse: patients insist that something is wrong while doctors insist they're actually healthy.

That's just the situation Kathy Wilson was in, and it took almost a decade to identify her mysterious condition.

"I felt like an 80-year-old woman stuck in a 40-year-old body"

Carbon monoxide
Emily Longnecker - Facebook

Wilson, a 41-year-old worker at Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles, says the she suffered from an unidentified condition for almost a decade.

It began with flu-like symptoms, headaches, muscle pain, and dizziness. Over time, the pain and disorientation forced Wilson to star walking with a cane.

"I felt like an 80-year-old woman stuck in a 40-year-old body," she told WTHR.

Mystery Disease
Inside Edition

There were other strange symptoms: persistent cases of bronchitis and pneumonia. It seemed like Wilson was getting worse with each passing year, but her doctors couldn't find anything wrong.

They ordered every test imaginable, including MRIs and painful spinal taps, but each test came back clean.

"You're fine," they insisted to Wilson over and over again.

But she was only getting worse.

Her "saving graces"

Mystery Disease
Indiana Public Media

Wilson's mystery condition eventually forced her to leave work.

"I lost the ability to use my left leg," she remembered.

"Then it started moving to my right leg. I would get nervous twitches. I got to the point I couldn't concentrate anymore."

But resting at home didn't help at all - if anything her symptoms got worse. Then, the condition seemed to spread to Wilson's husband and daughter, as they caught bronchitis and pneumonia too.

Mystery Disease
Wilson with her husband and daughter.WTHR

Who knows what would have happened to the Wilsons if they hadn't decided to renovate their bathroom. The family hired a trio of contractors that Wilson now calls her "saving graces."

The workers realized right away that a furnace in the home had been vented improperly. A pair of gas leaks in the water heater were filling the home with carbon monoxide.

"They were being poisoned," said Mike Evans, one of the contractors. Another described the Wilsons' gas leak as "the worst I've ever seen."

"The silent killer"

Mystery Disease
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg

The Wilsons were blindsided by news that they had a gas leak. After all, they had a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector in the house.

The trouble was the detector was placed on the ceiling, while carbon monoxide is heavier than air.

A carbon monoxide detector should be no higher than five feet off the ground, and be placed near your bedroom.

Carbon monoxide is called "the silent killer" because it's undetectable to humans, but high doses of the gas can kill an entire family in just a few hours.

Carbon monoxide detector
Fastily - Wikimedia

Blood tests confirmed Wilson had been poisoned by carbon monoxide, and after being treated she's back to her old self.

"For the first time in I don’t know, eight years, 10 years, I have energy and I almost feel like a kid inside again," she said.

She calls the contractors who identified the gas "my angels," and shared a warning to other women living with mysterious symptoms:

"If they are feeling sick, if they are feeling tired, they know their bodies. You know your body better than anybody else. Don’t let anybody try to tell you there’s nothing wrong when you know there is."

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[H/T: Inside Edition, WTHR]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com