Trudy was diagnosed with Polymyositis in 2006, and after being diagnosed she realized that the difficulty that she had already been experiencing with climbing steps and rising from a sitting position was more than just growing older. Polymyositis is a rare autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the muscles. Elevated liver enzymes resulting from muscle destruction led to further testing that confirmed her Polymyolsitis diagnosis. Additional information on Polymyositis can be found at The Myositis Association website.
There is no known cure for Polymyositis. Rather there are multiple drug and antibody therapies that control and modulate the autoimmune system, with the hope for periods of remission. Trudy went through ten years of a daily regimen of oral medications in addition to multiple monthly chemotherapy and/or antibody intravenous infusions. Through most of this period of time she continued her psychotherapy career and lived as normal a life as possible around the medical treatment. Parts of the treatment regimen increased the likelihood of infection and decreased her ability to overcome opportunistic infections. Weakened muscles increased the likelihood of serious injury from falls.
In 2009 Trudy founded and led a Suffolk County Myositis "Keep in Touch" (KIT) support group that enabled those who were afflicted with the various forms of myositis to connect with other myositis patients and their families. This group met monthly to provide mutual support and share ideas for dealing with the disease.
More research is needed to find a cure and/or improved treatment therapies. Rare diseases unfortunately do not attract a lot of funding for this purpose. In the hope that more research will lead to a cure we would like to encourage Trudy's family and friends to consider The Myositis Association for their charitable giving. We have established a fund raising campaign in memory of Trudy at the Myositis Association.