Donald O. Kollisch
To: Donald O. Kollisch
Subject: Serious medical update
I can’t say for sure why I’m writing to you, but you were such an important part of my life during the onset of my illness that I feel a strong desire to communicate with you.
The mysterious autoimmune disorder that was lurking in my body has finally had the decency to declare itself. Unfortunately, it is systemic sclerosis, also called systemic scleroderma, which means I’m facing a gradual but ultimately fatal process of skin, joint and organ degeneration.
It has hit my lungs, seriously affecting my breathing capacity, and has hit my digestive system also. Recently I was in the hospital for ten days because of serious digestive problems and an inability to eat. I’m now on intravenous nutrition, with a line in my arm. I can eat a small amount of food for pleasure, but there’s a real question as to whether I can ever take in enough nutrition by mouth to get off the intravenous line.
My rheumatologist at DHMC is wonderful–a good, honest and very compassionate young doctor. She has been completely …