• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Second opinion shifts aspiring filmmaker’s outlook

January 28, 2018

Devan Brady was frightened by an ominous diagnosis before a trip to Mayo Clinic helped her get a clearer picture of her medical situation.

As a young girl growing up in Buffalo, New York, Devan Brady enjoyed a bedtime story selection that was more a survey of American literature than preschool perennials. She remembers her father reading Moby-Dick to her when she was just 3 years old.

"My dad went for the big guns," Devan says. "The bigger the book, the better." These adventures unleashed Devan's imagination. As she grew older, she saw some of her favorite books, such as the Harry Potter series, leap from the page to the big screen. Devan knew there was only one path forward for her: creating magical worlds for kids who love to escape through books and film, just like she did.

But after Devan graduated from college in 2016 with a degree in media production, a medical scare threatened to steal this dream. After an initial misdiagnosis, a comprehensive evaluation at Mayo Clinic helped rule out a serious illness and put Devan back on track to achieving her goals.

An alarming finding

An avid traveler, Devan was on a flight to Japan in January 2016 when she noticed her legs kept falling asleep. She knew that was common on long flights, but the frequency and severity were still puzzling to her. Later that year, Devan was working three part-time jobs: production assistant on a local film crew, wedding photographer and restaurant server. While on her feet for a restaurant shift, Devan felt her legs go numb again. She didn't regain full sensation in them for several hours.

Worried, Devan called her local primary care provider, who ran some blood and imaging tests. The results were normal, but her doctor referred Devan to a neurologist for further evaluation.

In the weeks between appointments, Devan didn't experience any additional episodes and started to think she was in the clear. After completing a more rigorous set of tests with the neurologist, Devan expected to hear that she had something relatively simple, such as a pinched nerve. She didn't expect to leave his office with a diagnosis of the autoimmune disease neuromyelitis optica, commonly known as NMO.
Read the rest of Devan's story.

 A version of this story previously appeared in Mayo Clinic Magazine.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.