For years, Andrenetta Galloway of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department suffered from “strange” health symptoms that included unexplained rashes, severe leg and foot pain, debilitating headaches and extreme fatigue.
At first, the symptoms would come and go, but overtime they became so severe she could no longer function. Desperate to find the cause of her agony, Andrenetta says she visited four different doctors, but none seemed to understand what was wrong.
“I had been on multiple medications and none of them were working,” she says. “They’d do basic blood work and say, ‘We can’t find anything serious to be worried about.’”
But Andrenetta clearly knew something was wrong.
“I was missing a lot of work and lost a lot of weight,” she says. “I was so sick and couldn’t get any information on what was wrong with me. I didn’t know if I had cancer or what. I was scared to death.”
One day, Andrenetta saw a flyer hanging in the police department promoting OurHealth benefits for City of Charlotte employees and decided to schedule an appointment.
She met with Dr. Teressa Watts, OurHealth regional medical director, during her initial appointment, and admits she was surprised by her in-depth questioning.
“At the time, I was kind of laughing that she wanted to know my entire life history,” Andrenetta says. “But I was thinking in the back of my mind, ‘What if I find out what’s wrong with me?’”
Near the end of her appointment, Dr. Watts asked Andrenetta if she’d ever been tested for lupus.
“She said, ‘I really feel like we need to explore it,’” Andrenetta says. “She told me what the testing would involve and gave me really in-depth information. I was satisfied with what she said as far as the route we were going to take. For once, it felt like someone was trying to help me.”
The test results confirmed Dr. Watts’ suspicion, and Andrenetta was diagnosed with lupus.
She’s now in treatment and has to have infusion therapy a couple of times per month, but ultimately, she feels significantly better.
“I’m not going to say I’m 100 percent now, but I’m 100 percent better than I was before I started dealing with Dr. Watts at the clinic,” she says. “I’m on a lot of different medications, but they are the right medications.”
After four miserable years, Andrenetta says she’s relieved to know the cause of her suffering.
“I’m grateful that the City came up with this because I don’t know what shape I’d be in right now if I hadn’t started seeing Dr. Watts,” Andrenetta says. “She took the time to go the extra mile and help me.”
–By Mike LaFollette