Michael Craig

My name is Michael Craig and I am a 40 year old male survivor of NF from Columbus, OH. I was stricken with NF last October 16. I had been on a step-down steroid for a lower back injury when I contracted NF. To this day, I have no idea what brought it on or made it spread. I just know that I am very lucky to be alive. My ordeal with NF started October 16 in the early hours of the morning. I awoke with lower stomach pains. I got up and took some acetaminophen with codeine for the pain. I was also waking up with cold sweats during the night. When the alarm went off for work, I was in agony. I went in to the office in our condo to look for my manager's business card to call off of work that day and sat in my desk chair. I let my wife talk me into making the call and then couldn't get out of the chair because I was having so much pain breathing. She took my temperature and it was 104 degrees. She called her mother because she was scared and her mom is her rock of Gibraltar. Her mom told her to call 911, that I was sick and needed medical attention. I sat there in the office until the EMT's arrived. They took me out of the condo on a stretcher to the emergency room. In the ER, I was put on an IV and some narcotics to ease the pain. A lot of the day was a blur as I kept going in and out of consciousness due to the pain and narcotics. I remember a few of the tests, but don't remember being admitted to the hospital. The following day they ran more tests but couldn't pin it down. I had told the ER doctor about a battle that I had with pancreaitis in my early 20's and that the symptoms and pain were very similar. By mid afternoon, the ER doc was telling me that she felt it was pancreaitis again. Then suddenly my left side of my chest had swollen up and got bright red. I remember my best friend and his wife visiting, when they came in and gave me a painkiller. I was incoherent and babbling while they told my wife and me that it was NF. I vaguely remember the surgeon explaining the procedure to me and my wife and that if all ended well, I would need plastic surgery to repair the scar. They ended up cutting a 14" incision about three inches above my heart over my left breast. I was out on a respirator for five days while they made sure it hadn't spread in my body. Two days after I was out, they found a couple of "hot spots" on a MRI and took me into surgery again. They cut about a 10" incision across the left and back side of my ribcage and also into where my left bicep is. There was no spread of the disease, so they stapled me up. I spent a total of 18 days in the hospital including 13 in ICU bedridden. I lost close to 48 pounds during the 18 day stay. I still have a scar which is probably about ΒΌ inch deep across my chest. I am thankful that my wife was so very strong during this whole ordeal. I also got a strong dose of love and prayers from family, friends, and even strangers. I had people coming up from various churches to pray for me. I got cards from people who I casually know, and seen friends from clear back in my childhood. I am just very blessed and lucky to be alive to share my story of NF.