Over the years, streaming giant Netflix have created some of the most riveting and fascinating documentaries surrounding real-life mysteries. From Abducted in Plain Sight and The Keepers to Casting JonBenét and Making a Murderer.
But now they’ve released a docu-series which is less grusome murder and more medical mystery with the series Diagnosis.
Diagnosis is based on Dr Lisa Sanders’ New York Times column where she crowdsources for answers to some of America’s most bizarre and unsolved medical cases.
And in episode 2 we are introduced to the bizarre and heartwrenching tale of Sadie Gonzalez, who was diagnosed with a devastating brain disease which Dr Lisa called “one of the worst diagnoses you can get.”
Here’s how Sadie’s doing now post-Netflix and diagnosis!
Meet Sadie Gonzalez
Sadie Gonzalez is a 7-year-old growing up in Queens, New York with her mother Sara, dad José and sister Ruby.
We are introduced to Sadie on Diagnosis as she is struggling with a rare brain condition which causes seizures to occur every few minutes. The focal motor seizures primarily affect her mouth and tongue, left arm and left leg.
Sadie had her first seizure when she was 6-years-old. Before then she was an athletic and energetic child, but this all changed after the seizures started. Sadie was then placed on steroids, as she did not respond to any of the medications, which made her rapidly gain weight. She gained twenty pounds in just three weeks of being on steroids.
What happened to Sadie on Diagnosis?
Sadie and her family were desperate to find a solution to stop the seizures but they were also weary that the initial diagnosis Sadie got of Rasmussen’s encephalitis would be right. Her mother Sara bleakly announced that “it’s a disease with no cure.”
The treatment for Rasmussen’s is a rare operative procedure called a hemispherectomy, where part of the brain is taken out or disconnected.
It has potentially devastating consequences which include loss of vision in one eye and potential loss of function in one side of the body. If the language centre is in the affected part of the brain, then there’s a chance the patient will lose the ability to speak as well.
Sara said: “In my opinion, I feel like they sort of landed on this [diagnosis of Rasmussen’s] and stopped looking for other reasons.”
The crowdsourcing results included diagnoses of Lyme disease. Sadie began treatment for this after she was determined as “strongly positive,” but the treatment then worsened her symptoms and made her fall ill.
The diagnoses then pointed towards being Rasmussen’s encephalitis.
What is Rasmussen’s?
Rasmussen’s encephalitis is an extremely rare disease which results in chronic inflammation of the brain.
It results from a certain type of white blood cell – T lymphocytes – invading one half of the brain and attempting to destroy it.
If the hemispherectomy is not performed, the brain will shrink and deteriorate. This will lead to paralysis.
Catching up with Sadie post-Netflix
Diagnosis: The diagnosis the doctors were certain on was Rasmussen’s and the Gonzalez’s all agreed treatment for Rasmussen’s was the best way forward.
Treatment: An alternate to the hemispherectomy that they discovered on the show was a neuropace transplant, which serves as a pacemaker for the brain. The family decided this was the best course of action for Sadie and went ahead, even though the Mount Sinai surgeon said it would be a few months until they saw results.
Sadie now: A month after the surgery to implant the neuropace, Sadie was allowed to return to school full-time and her symptoms were much better although she is still on lots of medication.
WATCH DIAGNOSIS SEASON 1 ON NETFLIX NOW
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