DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — A Methodist Dallas Medical Center doctor diagnosed a 25-year-old woman suffering from crippling pain with a rare renal condition.
Michelle Griffith was diagnosed with Nutcracker Syndrome, where pressure on the renal vein, which drains the kidneys, is similar to the pressure a nutcracker puts on a walnut.
Symptoms include blood in the urine and abdominal or flank pain that may be worsened by sitting or walking.
Griffith’s symptoms started when she went away to college at Texas A&M. But her abdominal pain grew to be so severe, it started to interfere with her daily tasks and caused her to lose 40 pounds.
“That was probably the hardest, darkest time of this whole experience,” she said. “It basically felt like what I imagine a heart attack would feel like, but in my abdomen, every single day.”
And after visiting dozens of doctors and taking several diagnostic tests, Griffith still had no answer.
Her mother Selva said doctors, “just kind of threw their hands up in the air and said, ‘You know, maybe she needs to just go on vacation and eat fruit.'”
But that all changed when Griffith was seen by her 50th doctor, Methodist Dallas’s Surgical Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplants, Richard Dickerman.
Selva said Dickerman recognized and acknowledged Griffith’s Nutcracker Syndrome and officially diagnosed her April 9.
“Physicians have to be aware of it before they make the diagnosis,” Dickerman said. “The pain is caused by the blockage of blood coming out of the kidneys.”