Phil Fights Polymyositis



Dearly Loved Child of God, Husband to Cheryl, Father to Andrew, Jason & Elise, World's Fastest Reader & Sibling Proclaimed; Super Nerd! 

Although I could go on & on about the symptoms of Phil's condition, I won't, what I will do instead is describe the faith & leadership he's maintained throughout & regardless of his physical ailments.

Through the pain Phil has continued to serve at his church that him & his family attend regularly, make lesson plans for his kids who are homeschooled, keep up a home along with his beautiful wife Cheryl, shepard his children to know & trust in God's divine plans for their lives & somehow, amazingly enough realize that his current position in life is a position of eternal power & strength! 

I can't honestly bring myself to write of my brother's daily pain & inability to perform normal activities like walking up stairs or picking his head up off of his pillow so I'll end this with some facts about his disease & a prayer for his healing...

Polymyositis (PM) is a type of chronic inflammation of the muscles (inflammatory myopathy) related to dermatomyositisand inclusion body myositis. Its name means "inflammation of many muscles" (poly- + myos- + -itis). The inflammation is predominantly of the endomysium in polymyositis, whereas dermatomyositis is characterized by primarily perimysialinflammation.

The hallmark of polymyositis is weakness and/or loss of muscle mass in the proximal musculature, as well as flexion of the neck and torso.[1] These symptoms can be associated with marked pain in these areas as well. The hip extensors are often severely affected, leading to particular difficulty in ascending stairs and rising from a seated position. The skin involvement of dermatomyositis is absent in polymyositis. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) or other problems with esophageal motilityoccur in as many as 1/3 of patients. Low grade fever and peripheral adenopathy may be present. Foot drop in one or both feet can be a symptom of advanced polymyositis and inclusion body myositis. The systemic involvement of polymyositis includes interstitial lung disease and cardiac disease, such as heart failure and conduction abnormalities.[2]

Polymyositis tends to become evident in adulthood, presenting with bilateral proximal muscle weakness often noted in the upper legs due to early fatigue while walking. Sometimes the weakness presents itself as an inability to rise from a seated position without help or an inability to raise one's arms above one's head. The weakness is generally progressive, accompanied by lymphocytic inflammation (mainly cytotoxic T cells).

- Difficulty swallowing
- Muscle pain
- Muscle weakness in the proximal muscles (shoulders, hips, etc.) this can make it hard to raise the arms over the head, get up from a sitting position, or climb stairs
- Problems with the voice (caused by weak throat muscles)
- Shortness of breath

There is no cure for polymyositis, but the symptoms can be treated.  Options include medication, physical therapy, exercise, heat therapy (including microwave and ultrasound), orthotics and assistive devices, and rest.  The standard treatment for polymyositis is a corticosteroid drug, given either in pill form or intravenously.  Immunosuppressant drugs, such as azathioprine and methotrexate, may reduce inflammation in people who do not respond well to prednisone.  Periodic treatment using intravenous immunoglobulin can also improve recovery.  Other immunosuppressive agents used to treat the inflammation associated with polymyositis include cyclosporine A, cyclophosphamide, and tacrolimus.  Physical therapy is usually recommended to prevent muscle atrophy and to regain muscle strength and range of motion. 

Writing this from a little sister's point of view I'll end with  a prayer for your healing & thanks to our God!

Dear God, The Alpha & The Omega, The Creator of Heaven & Earth,

We trust you. We trust in your plans & we thank you for your mercy in these tough moments. God I pray that you bring aboundance of faith to my brother & his family. I pray that you continue to imprint your love in the hearts of Andrew, Jason & Elise. I pray that you give their parents the strength to continue to acknowledge you during the seemingly "insignificant" times so that their children know without a doubt in their minds that you are who you say you are & that you are truly unchanging! The King of Kings until the end of time. So, Lord please show us where to take our next step. Help us to rest when we need to rest & submit to you when we need to listen a little bit closer. 

God, we are in awe of your mercy & we pray for healing & peace to follow Phil for all the days of his life. His heart is big & his faith is strong because of YOU GOD! We owe you our lives & we are freely willing to give all that you ask of us for our good & above all else, YOUR GLORY.

We pray this in YOUR HOLY NAME...Amen.

I love you so much brother...your hunger for knowledge & the ultimate truth God bestows upon us all is beyond inspiring. You're wealth is being stored in the right place & your trust in His promises is proof that whatever we encounter in life, we can & MUST place in God's healing hands. 

Thank you friends & family for your generosity & prayers during this extremely difficult time. We love you all so much!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Virginia Rose Rivera
Babylon, NY
Philip Rivera

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