ELKHART — Terry Trost smiles more these days.
For the past year and half, she has struggled to regain control of her health, but things seem to be looking up. Trost, who lives in Elkhart, was among 750 people across the country who contracted a fungal infection linked to contaminated steroid injections in 2012. And just recently, she was taken off medications that have helped her fight the illness.
Trost had gone to OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart to manage back pain on Sept. 26, 2012. That evening, batches of the medications she had taken were recalled for contamination. OSMC was among six clinics in Indiana that had received vials of tainted drugs distributed by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. Trost was diagnosed with fungal meningitis five months after the shot in her lower back.
“It seemed like it was going to take forever to make the pain go down,” Trost said. “You get the shot to get rid of pain, and all that did was create more pain. It was pain on pain on pain.”
There have been 93 cases of fungal infections reported in Indiana, including 11 deaths. Three of those deaths were Elkhart County residents.
After more than a year of medical testing and taking medications, the fungus that Trost was exposed to is not gone from her body.
“My infectious disease doctor said there’s nothing else the medication can do for me,” Trost said. “The fungus is out of the bone, but it’s still there inside me. It’s not dead. I have a 50-50 chance. It can either continue to die, or it can bounce back and resume again.”
However, Trost added that her doctor told her that she has not seen cases of fungal meningitis resurfacing in patients.
“That gives me hope,” Trost said. “She says it’s going to take a very long time, though. It’s not going to be a month or two months for it to be totally out of my system. She’s encouraged with how people have reacted to the drugs.”
Despite some lingering pain, Trost said she is feeling more like herself lately. She is less weak, she has more energy, she is gaining more muscle in her arms and best of all, Trost said, she’s feeling more emotionally stable.
“It was bad for a while,” she said. “I don’t have periods of crying or depression like I did.”
Trost said her uncle Carl Crise, a pastor at Whosoever Will Worship Center in Elkhart, has helped her through tough times.
“Every time I see him, he asks me how the pain is and how I’m feeling,” she said. “He prays for me every day, every day. I think he’s my biggest champion.”
Trost is among 70 plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against OSMC, but she has been advised by her attorney not to talk about the case. South Bend-based personal injury attorneys Foley & Small filed the complaint with Elkhart Superior Court 1 on April 2, alleging that the Elkhart clinic should have known that the compounding center in Massachusetts was not authorized to manufacture drugs in bulk.
For now, Trost is playing a waiting game – waiting to learn about the lawsuit’s outcome and waiting to fully recover.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.