A young 31-year-old firefighter had to have his nose and part of his eye socket removed due to a devastating fungal infection.
It’s a dark story that 31-year-old Brandon Boothby experienced. When this young father fell ill – with a simple flu, he initially thought – tests revealed that he was in fact suffering from an extremely rare autoimmune disease.
An infection that was eating away at his face
It all started with a flu-like illness, which was not very worrying. But, quickly, Brandon Boothby saw his symptoms “gradually worsen”.
So he goes to the hospital, where the diagnosis falls: the young father suffers from an autoimmune disease known as severe aplastic anemia.
This is a condition that occurs when bone marrow stem cells do not produce enough blood cells – that is, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
The symptoms are multiple: fatigue, weakness, paleness, dizziness but also potential bleeding.
Or, “cIt’s such a serious illness that if someone sneezes around you, you can contract a fatal infection.“, reveals the young firefighter.
The doctors then invite Brandon Boothby to go home, while waiting for a “bone marrow donor“, reports the media The Sun.
But soon after, his nose begins to itch and, ultimately, hurt. Feverish, Brandon returns to the hospital, where doctors diagnose him with a life-threatening fungal infection caused by opportunistic fungal microorganisms.
“It wasn’t difficult to breathe when my nose became infected; it was just the local pain and swelling that was alarming“, he explained.
Five interventions were carried out
In an attempt to eliminate the fungus on his nose and face, doctors decide to perform five surgeries.
His nose and part of his eye socket are removed because the infection “penetrated deeper and deeper into my face and began to penetrate my left eye“, he revealed.
“The next place she would have gone would have been my brain, which would have signaled the end of the game.“, says the patient.
His bone marrow transplant goes wrong
If Brandon Boothby seems out of the woods, this is unfortunately not the case (yet). After receiving a bone marrow transplant, the young firefighter develops graft-versus-host syndrome – healthy stem cells from the donor graft then attack the host cells.
@boothbyengine25 #4 The knockdown, the transplant, the relase! I hope you guys are enjoying hearing about this journey. In thus clip I talked about my chemo/raditon session, dropping my immune system to zero to recieve this international transplant, the feeling of finally receiving such a perfect matched donor. My 1st birthday (wierd, I know it). Walking out to my department family, who have done so much for my life and family; which will be the focus of vid part 5. Mark 12:31 #SAA #Faith #FinishTheFight #Motivation #Goddid #youvsyou #Survivor #ufhealth #FirstResponder #firefighter #faith ♬ original sound – Brandon Boothby
Luckily, the medical team managed to save him – a second time – by feeding him through a tube. A year and a half later, Brandon Boothby says he is on the (good) road to recovery.
“Even though I still have to go for monthly exams, I have returned to full-time firefighting duty“, he concludes.
Severe aplastic anemia: what treatments?
Since the patient’s immunity is greatly reduced in severe aplastic anemia, the doctor usually prescribes antibiotics or antiviral medications to ward off infections.
The treatments considered then depend on the underlying cause of the disease and many factors, such as the patient’s age, health, and symptoms.
Typically, a bone marrow transplant is considered, as was the case for Brandon Boothby.