09/01/04 — Ailments accumulate for Goldsboro woman; benefit planned

View Archive

Ailments accumulate for Goldsboro woman; benefit planned

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 1, 2004 1:57 PM

Janet Gooding's finger tips fell off.

"It's a two-year process," she said. "It's painful when they harden."

Today, when they get dry, she wears nitroglycerin strips around them to keep the blood flowing.

She suffers from Raynaud's disease. Her lungs function at only 47 percent capacity, preventing good circulation of oxygen to her body.

Numerous medical problems surfaced three years ago when symptoms she had been having for two years were finally diagnosed as interstitial lung disease, also called pulmonary fibrosis.

"Last time I went to the doctor I asked how long does someone live with this," she said. Someone with pulmonary fibrosis usually lasts three years. "I was diagnosed three years ago, but the problems went back about two more years."

She has also had Sjogrens syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes dryness of the eyes and mouth. It affects the glands, and you have difficulty swallowing. She takes a lot of Prednisone, a steroid, which causes her blood sugar to increase. She also takes insulin.

A year and a half ago, the doctors put her on oxygen treatment.

"I didn't know what was happening," she said. At times her symptoms affected her work at the Brantley Jenkins and Riddle law firm in Goldsboro. "I was very weak."

When she stood up, she would get dizzy. The symptoms intensified to where she could take only a few steps without having to stop.

Her work hours dropped until she was told to come in when she felt like it. "They were beyond good to me," she said. "One morning, I got up and had trouble walking from my bed to the bathroom."

One of her three daughters, who live close to her home at New Hope, took her to the doctor. She was anemic and stayed a week in the hospital.

"While I was there I had minor congestive heart failure," she said. "That's when they found out what was wrong with me."

The doctors called Duke Medical Center to have her put on the lung transplant list, but she wasn't accepted because of the Raynaud's disease.

She had to stop work altogether and go on disability.

Mrs. Gooding, who is 60, lost her husband in 1997 to an aneurysm. Her three daughters, Kim Dawson, Robin Smith and Majena Howell, live within 20 minutes of her house and call her every day. A senior companion comes weekday mornings and cooks her breakfast, does laundry and housework.

"I can't cook or do housework," said Mrs. Gooding. "As much as I hate housework, I wish I could."

Last winter the cold weather brought relief, and she was able to come off the oxygen for a couple of months. She thought she had been healed. "Some may have had to do with the cool weather."

This year, she has been hospitalized twice with pneumonia, because of her weak immune system. She said it causes her to not be able to see her grandchildren as often as she would like.

"I've had a lot of help from my friends," she said. "People bring me food. Employees at the law firm have taken up money for me, and the law firm gave me money."

But she still needs help.