Blood disease changes Alameda woman’s life
By Lucinda Ryan
Posted: 02/09/2012 01:23:36 PM PST
Updated: 02/09/2012 01:31:44 PM PST
Perhaps the time will come when she will play Irish music on her flute again, but for now, Olive Quilter’s friends are happy to play their tunes in an upcoming concert to help defray her medical bills.
Until eight years ago, Quilter, then 46, was feeling fine. The middle school teacher also taught Irish dance to Alameda youths and played Irish music in concerts. That was before the symptoms arrived, when she became severely short of breath, fatigued after the most minor exertion and when muscle weakness and other ailments set in.
“I had been athletic all my life,” she wrote in an email (which provides her with more rest breaks than carrying on a conversation). “I started Irish dancing when I was 4 and taught for seven years. I had been training for a race-walk marathon in San Francisco to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.” In 2004, she came down with what she assumed was the flu.
“I had ‘crashes’ where my symptoms would suddenly worsen and from which I never reached my ‘precrash’ levels,” she stated. Severe fatigue, weakness and trouble breathing landed her in bed.
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