A local woman is battling a rare disease that’s robbed her of her memory.
Nieshia Scott, 22, was diagnosed with NMDA Receptor Antibody Encephalitis in June 2012. At the time, she was a senior honors student at Fayetteville State University, and was on schedule to graduate in December.
“She would text me and say, ‘Mommy I have a headache and it’s really bad’, and I'm thinking she's stressing from taking her finals,” Wanda Scott, Nieshia’s mother, said.
The headaches were then accompanied by a high fever, but doctors didn’t know what was causing it. Nieshia spent more than a month in critical condition, until doctors were able to diagnose her disease.
“She was going to spend her summer studying for her grad school exam,” Wanda Scott said. “Instead she spent her summer in ICU in Duke.”
The disease left her without any of her memory. According to her family, Nieshia doesn’t remember her family and friends, or anything about her life before the disease. Now, the 22-year-old is relearning life, starting with the basics.
“We have to teach her about foods,” Wanda Scott said. “This was her first Thanksgiving and her first Christmas. I mean everything is a new beginning for her.”
Nieshia spends most of her time with her nurse, learning things like the ABC’s and the months of the year.
Although she is home with family, Nieshia’s disease still requires frequent doctor visits at Duke University, including frequent chemotherapy treatments. Her family said it could take years for her brain to fully recover.
So far, medical treatments have cost more than $500,000, which the family has paid for mostly out of pocket.