As some of you know, in the beginning of 2008, I became sick with a condition called Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP).  A full description of my illness can be found under "Links."  

The story began as follows: In the beginning of 2008, I felt excruciating back pain along with numbness in my toes.  Having had a prior on-duty back injury in 2005 from my job as a police officer, my first thought was that it was again acting up.  My orthopedist agreed and took me off work. 

As time passed, other symptoms began to develop.  Numbness spread through my body. Mostly legs, feet and hands.  I saw my primary care doc and was eventually referred to a neurologist specializing in neuromuscular disorders.  It was then that I received my diagnosis of CIDP. 

I lost my ability to walk, turn myself over in bed, and have endured many progressing symptoms associated with CIDP.  I have truly been in agony.  

I've been through three different treatments in an attempt to reverse the autoimmune attack on my nerves (IVIG, prednisone & cyclosporine). Not much luck, not much improved. 

Northwestern University has the country's only treatment involving high dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation (for CIDP).  I paid my own way to chicago as Blue Shield refused to cover even the evaluation for eligibility.  The great news is that I am eligible; the bad news is that Blue Shield refused to cover the treatment. 

As of July 1, 2009, my new insurance, United Healthcare, went into effect.  On July 24, 2009, they also denied coverage.  As it turns out, the City of San Francisco negotiated such bottom level contracts for city employees, that the resulting contracts between the city and the insurers are among the worst.  Our city's policies cover runny noses and everything that is inside the box.  Of the thousands of employees of the City of San Francisco, I wonder how many of them or their families have and will encounter the nightmare I have... 

My dear parents and many generous donations have made it possible for me to get this treatment. The whole treatment took place between September 7th and November 10th 2009.  They have basically rebooted my immune system, and I immediately started healing.   I feel like the CIDP has left my body, and it's all about healing now.  I must be patient, as nerves take time to regrow, but my strength, flexibility and energy continue to improve. 

 After over a year of healing, nerve growth, building strength and flexibility, I am now back to work - since February 4th !    

Thank you so much, 

Alice DiCroce