Jean Sharon Abbott spent nearly all of her life believing she had an incurable condition that left her feeling "trapped" in her own body -- unaware that many of her symptoms could be easily treated with a pill.
The 38-year-old Minnesota mother of three was diagnosed as a child with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that appears early in life and permanently disrupts the brain's ability to control movement and balance.
For more than three decades, Abbott says she suffered from debilitating symptoms. "I could barely move my arms or legs to due to the countless hours of spasms, stiffness and cramping through out my body," she wrote on her blog. She underwent "countless doctors visits, medical procedures, unnecessary medications and surgeries."
Despite the physical challenges, she says she was able to "make friends, go away to college, marry and have children," and she notes with pride that she managed "to maintain a positive attitude and be a joyful person throughout this whole ordeal."
But it turns out the diagnosis was wrong. She never had cerebral palsy.
In 2010, a new doctor recognized that her symptoms, which never quite fit with the classic signs of cerebral palsy, were actually caused by something else: a rare but treatable condition called dopa-responsive dystonia. More