Jody Reshaw had a successful career working in corporate kitchens and catering when she found herself struggling to walk or stand without debilitating pain in her legs and feet. Forced to put her culinary passion on hold, Reshaw found a supportive health care team at Alameda Health System (AHS) who continue to empower her on her long journey back to health.

“There is no doubt in my mind that without the compassionate and dedicated people of AHS who never gave up on finding a diagnosis and the right treatment plan for me, I would have been in a wheelchair for the rest of my life,” said Reshaw. “Instead, thanks to AHS, I’m excited for my continued recovery and a healthy future.”

Prior to coming to AHS, Reshaw was seen by an outside provider who attributed her symptoms to various conditions including high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes but her health still not improving with medication.

An upbeat person by nature, Reshaw tried to stay positive but because of her delayed diagnosis and progressive loss of mobility, she was eventually laid off from a job she loved and along with it, she lost her health insurance and ultimately exhausted her unemployment benefits.

When Reshaw first came to AHS she was desperate for answers after spending more than a year unable to find an accurate diagnosis while her condition continued to deteriorate.
“During her initial telephone visit she shared that she had an unusually rapid progression from being fully mobile to becoming wheelchair bound about 18 months later without any clear explanation,” shared Dr. Patricia Foo, MD, primary care at Highland Wellness. “She had other concerning symptoms including significant weight loss.”

AHS arranged for Reshaw’s transportation for an in-person visit a couple of weeks later with Dr. Foo who shared it was clearly apparent that Shaw had a notable loss of muscle strength in a pattern that raised concerns about a potential diagnosis of myositis. “Our initial blood tests confirmed muscle inflammation and I referred her to rheumatology where she was ultimately diagnosed with SRP myositis,” said Dr. Foo.

Dr. Foo shared that in general terms myositis is due to an overactive immune system that targets the muscle and leads to inflammation and weakness. Reshaw is currently on multiple immunosuppressive medications including two infusions, rituximab and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and an oral immunosuppressant.

While there is no cure, patients with myositis can live full, healthy lives and continue to manage their symptoms through ongoing treatment.

Reshaw has seen marked improvement in her mobility with infusion therapy. “When I first started with IVIG they had to bring me in on a gurney because I literally could not lift my head,” said Reshaw. “Now, I am able to use a rolling walker and walk up and down stairs.”

She is responding well to therapy and she credits her “AHS family” including Dr. Foo, Ernest Maningding, MD, rheumatology, Adetola (Tola) Williams, RN, Richelle Chu, RN, Minah Baek, RN, Yuliya Soboleva, RN, Uche Kanu, RN, Lorenz De Leon, RN, and Elsa Pantoja, clinical nurse II for her overall progress.

She’s also thriving outside of AHS pursuing a new career path and is currently enrolled in the Nutrition and Dietetics transfer program at City College of San Francisco. In addition, Reshaw is now working out at a gym once a week and her fitness goals include learning the Chinese martial art Tai Chi which is a gentle form of exercise that helps with strength and flexibility.

As the year comes to a close, Reshaw is looking forward to a happy and healthy 2024 with plans to move to Alameda and is considering additional studies at the College of Alameda. She sees a bright future ahead and is grateful for the patient-centered care at AHS.

“Throughout my health care journey at AHS I’ve been treated with nothing but dignity and respect by the entire staff,” shared Reshaw. “I am seen and heard and from day one I have been supported every step of the way.”