Joplin Volunteer Struggles with Bizarre Illness
OLATHE, Kan. — Mike Forest is the type of guy who rescues puppies and volunteers to help build homes for those in need, so it didn’t surprise his wife, Dina, when he eagerly volunteered to help people in Joplin.
“When he got that phone call, he didn’t think twice,” Dina said.
For days, Mike and his friend moved cars out of the way. One day, while still there, he woke up with strange symptoms.
“He didn’t know where he was, he was confused, nose bleeding and he had blisters on his legs,” Dina explained.
Mike went to the hospital, but left a little later after seeing tornado victims who needed more help. More than one year later, he’s still in constant, agonizing pain.
“It just feels like someone’s got a spoon raking at my bones,” Mike said. “Just to get dressed some mornings is a struggle.”
Mike and Dina have been to numerous doctors, and they’ve gotten more than a dozen possible diagnoses, like Lyme Disease and Lupus. None are accurate. To deal with the pain, Mike takes a pharmacy of medicine. The illness takes its toll financially and emotionally.
“This is kicking us down pretty bad, pretty bad,” Dina said.
Mike’s son is especially concerned.
“He believes that his father is dying,” Dina explained.
Through all of this, Mike doesn’t blame anyone or regret what he did for Joplin.
“I said, ‘How do you feel about that?’ And he said, ‘I’d do it again,’” Dina said, recalling her conversation with Mike.
While he hopes he can find someone who understands his symptoms, he hopes no one’s gone through what he has.
“I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody. It’s tough,” Mike said.
Mike says he gets blisters all up and down his legs, horrible headaches, joint swelling and pain, chills and cold sweats every single day. The Forest family is just interested in getting the word out there — to see if anyone else has experienced something similar.