Our son, David Campbell, struggled with a mysterious illness.
The odyssey began in April 1998 when he was five and a half
months old. A bout of staring episodes took us to the emergency
room of St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, the hospital
where David was born. The eight hours of testing that night
was just a prelude to what the next three years would bring.
By the age of 14 months, David had recovered from two periods
of unexplained muscle weakness and was able to walk on his
own. The fourth episode (April 2000) was profound in that
David never regained his ability to walk. At the onset, David
was like a floppy doll – he could not hold his head
up, or sit up, let alone crawl. A second MRI of the spine
revealed that the anterior region of his spine was damaged.
The referral to specialists began – we were facing the
David traveled many a mile and was examined by a veritable
“who’s who” in medicine. From Johns Hopkins
and Children’s National Medical Center on the East Coast,
to UCLA, Stanford, Children’s Hospital of Orange County,
and finally, UC San Diego School of Medicine, David met the
finest individuals one could consult on such a perplexing
case. Unfortunately, David’s disease course was so unique
that it defied diagnosis. Along the way, though, David’s
spirit and charm captivated the hearts and minds of his doctors,
adding to their intellectual curiosity and frustration.
After 12 months of solid recovery, and even the glimpse of
hope that David might be cured, David suffered a severe setback
in April 2001. David went from riding his tricycle to near
paralysis in a matter of days. Medical tests revealed that
David was not suffering from an immunological condition where
his body was attacking itself – the prevailing theory
at the time.