Above & Beyond

This section is about people who were told either “it’s all in your head” or there is “nothing more to be done, you just have to live with it” or maybe even learned of a dismal prognosis that they just needed to accept. They may have tried treatment after treatment with nothing working, perhaps juggling multiple medications at a time. Although they suffered from different symptoms/illnesses and tried different doctors and treatments, they have three thing in common; 1) they never gave up, 2) they went above and beyond in looking for cures and taking charge of their own health problems (while working with their doctors) and 3) they succeeded in conquering their illnesses.

Dr. Stephen Bigelsen

Diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer, Dr. Stephen Bigelsen thought he only had a few months left to live. Four and a half years later, he is living life with no evidence of cancer and is working hard to ensure that he is not one of the only people who gets to overcome Pancreatic Cancer. Here is his advice for anyone diagnosed with terminal illness where conventional treatment has little chance of working on the importance of clinical trials and combining conventional with experimental treatment.

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Samantha Schulman

The lying on the floor with a racing heart and terrifying pressure on her chest started in early childhood somewhere around the age of eight. Her parents were scared and took her to a cardiologist who ran many tests, and told them everything was fine. Her family breathed a sigh of relief at the cardiologist’s all clear, but that did nothing to stop young Samantha’s severe social anxiety…

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Doug Lindsay

Twenty years ago, on the first day of my final year studying biology at university in Missouri, I collapsed. My heart was racing, I was dizzy, disoriented and weak. I was 21 and had been feeling unwell over the summer; doctors thought it might be glandular fever, but this was much worse…

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Sandra Hoehler

(NEW YORK) — By the time Sandra Hoehler was diagnosed with cancer, it was as much a moment of relief as one of fear.  Five years earlier, Hoehler, now 38, started experiencing symptoms including a persistent vaginal itch and severe pain that she’d eventually learn were associated with her cancer…

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David Fajgenbaum

David Fajgenbaum has nearly died five times. He’s had his last rites administered, and he knows he could relapse at any moment. Still, the 32-year-old doctor doesn’t waste energy on self-pity. He can’t. He’s too busy trying to find a cure for the rare disease that’s come so close to killing him.

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