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Ohio woman details journey to health after being diagnosed with rare breast disease on business trip

After contracting an incredibly rare breast disease, an Ohio woman was shocked to discover that it came from contaminated water.

“I was the one who found the bacteria as a result of the test, and it was my way of finding out how I contracted it,” Tammy Burdick of Cincinnati told Fox News Digital. Wrote a memoir Her health journey of self-diagnosis is called, “Diagnosis Detective: Curing Granulomatous Mastitis.”

Tammy Burdick is an author and granulomatous mastitis advocate. She shares her story of self-diagnosis in her book, “Diagnosis Detective: Curing Granulomatous Mastitis.” (Tammy Burdick)

Tommy Burdick after breast surgery

A photo of Tommy Burdick after surgery. Burdick said she has two scars from her breast surgery. (Tammy Burdick)

In January 2017, Burdick went to Connecticut for a business trip, but about two months after returning home, she began experiencing a number of symptoms. Burdick said she began experiencing breast pain and discovered a hard lump after self-examination.

Assuming an imminent cancer diagnosis, Burdick immediately called her primary care physician, who ordered a mammogram and ultrasound of the affected area. After Burdick’s biopsy, it was released that the diagnosis was not cancer but rather a rare infection.

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Burdick was diagnosed with granulomatous mastitis (GM), a “rare chronic inflammatory breast condition” that is incredibly painful.

“I was definitely relieved that it wasn’t cancer, although I never imagined that this breast disease would rear its ugly head like a monster so soon,” Burdick said.

Tommy Burdick

Tami Burdick began researching Corynebacterium kroppenstedtii after a test revealed it was the underlying cause of her breast disease. (Tammy Burdick)

Despite Burdick’s diagnosis, she still did not know the cause of her condition, nor a path to treatment and recovery. Eventually, Burdick found a Facebook support group, where she connected with other women around the world who also have GM.

Seven months after her initial diagnosis, Burdick revealed a gene sequencing pathology test recommended by a woman in her support group.

“It ultimately helped save my life,” Burdick said.

“It ultimately helped save my life.”

– Tami Burdick

Tommy Burdick and Dr. Maclean

Tommy Burdick and his doctor and friend, Dr. Kelly McLean. Dr. McLean ordered a pathology test that ultimately revealed the root cause of Burdick’s – bacteria mostly associated with water. (Tammy Burdick)

After requesting that she be tested, Burdick finally found out where the cause of her painful breast infection was.

“The reason I called my book ‘Diagnosis Detective’ was because I was the one who figured everything out to the doctor. I knew something was causing it,” Burdick told Fox News Digital.

“And finally, after seven months, we had an answer,” Burdick said.

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Pathology tests revealed Corynebacterium kroppenstedtii as the root cause of Burdick’s disease.

Corynebacterium kroppenstedtii is an environmentally occurring bacterium that is mostly associated with water, sewage, and soil.

Tommy Burdick, Doctor Maclean

Tammy Burdick, left, and her oncologist, Dr. Kelly McLean, wear “GM” advocacy T-shirts. (Tammy Burdick)


The first photo is Tammy Burdick’s original mammogram before the ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy that would lead to her diagnosis of granulomatous mastitis. (Tammy Burdick)

Burdick’s next order of business was figuring out how he contracted the bacteria.

He had his home water tested for Corynebacterium kroppenstedtii, but the results came back negative. Burdick said she hadn’t been in a pool, hot tub, or other body of water in “quite a long time.”

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Research on the bacteria told Burdick that it needed a natural point of entry, such as a pore or duct opening.

Ultimately, Burdick and his medical team were convinced that he contracted the nasty bacteria from his hotel shower during a 2017 business trip.

Tommy Burdick

Tami Burdick is returning to the Northeast for the first time since being diagnosed with granulomatous mastitis. She says she contracted the rare disease from a hotel shower during a business trip to Connecticut in 2017. (Tammy Burdick)

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Years after Burdick’s diagnosis with GM, she’s still advocating for the rare infectious disease that affects 2.4 women in every 100,000.

“I have two scars on my breast. One on the top and one on the bottom,” Burdick said. “I see them every day, and I call them my warrior wounds.”

She said her scars are a reminder to keep sharing her story with the world and to advocate for others facing GM.

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“I even wrote in my book that God gives His battles to His strongest soldiers and that God knew that this disease needed to be called out,” Burdick said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about helping people.”

Source by [Fox News]



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