Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Coma man defies odds to write book

A Northern Ireland man has defied medical predictions and overcome the effects of a rare condition that left him in a coma for three months.

Jonathan Fisher is a survivor of an Addisonian crisis which affected him so badly doctors feared he would never recover.

His mother ignored medical advice to switch off his life-support system as doctors believed he was brain dead.

However, convinced he could recover after noticing that he was reacting to her with the occasional slight movement of his little finger she refused to give up on her son.

Now — against all the odds — he has made a remarkable recovery and has regained many of the skills lost as a result of his condition.

Addison’s disease is a rare disorder of the adrenal glands. It affects the production of two hormones — cortisol and aldosterone — which help to regulate blood pressure.

If left untreated, the amount of steroid hormones in the body will gradually fall and the symptoms of Addison’s disease will get progressively worse.

Eventually, this will cause an adrenal crisis — when the symptoms become very severe and blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level. An adrenal crisis can be fatal if it is not treated immediately.

Jonathan can now get around Lisburn in his electric wheelchair and has even managed to complete his first book, August Always — a triumph as he has considerable speech impairment and great difficulty using his hands to operate a keyboard.

The process has been long and laborious but Jonathan said he was determined to share his experience with others.

“There are moments in life that define us, like birth and death,” he said.

“Along the journey there will be crises of passion, of love, of faith and desire, but none so devastating as an Addisonian crisis. I am Jonathan Fisher, a survivor.

“August Always is my memoir. I believe in the incredible. I dream of a better future.”

Background

Addison’s disease is a rare disorder of the adrenal glands which are located on top of the kidneys. The condition affects the production of two hormones. Cortisol, which helps to regulate blood pressure, maintaining blood glucose and heart function. And aldosterone which also helps regulate blood pressure. Addison’s sufferers must get treatment if their blood pressure falls as it can be fatal.

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