Woman’s mysterious illness baffled doctors for years, until strangers recognize it instantly

July 2, 2018 4:37 pm Last Updated: July 2, 2018 4:39 pm

Getting sick is never pleasant, but if worst comes to worst you can at least count on a doctor to recognize your symptoms and help you get better.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for one woman, who suffered for years when she couldn’t get a diagnosis for her illness—until some unexpected strangers solved the mystery.

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Kathi Wilson, from Shelbyville, Indiana, is just 41, but sickness left her feeling much older.

She experienced constant flu-like symptoms like muscle ache and fatigue, and had to rely on a cane.

“I felt like an 80-year-old stuck in a 40-year-old body,” Wilson told ABC News“The more I stayed home, I felt even more sick.”

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But it wasn’t the flu—this was something chronic, and took over her life for about 10 years.

“Over the years it kept getting worse and worse,” her daughter Ashley told Inside Edition

Doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Wilson went through every possible medical exam—MRIs, X-rays, even tests of the brain and spine—and yet nothing seemed to make sense.

“I felt we were very thorough, but didn’t come up with a solution,” Wilson’s doctor Mary Beth Hensley said.

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Wilson battled her illness for years—until an unlikely turn of events led to a breakthrough.

She recently hired a group of contractors to remodel her bathroom. But while working on her home, they noticed something wasn’t right about her furnace and water heater—and finally revealed the source of Wilson’s suffering.

The furnace was leaking carbon monoxide.

An odorless, colorless gas, undetected carbon monoxide can be deadly and kills over 400 people a year in the U.S. But in Wilson’s case, it was just poisoning her slowly, completely undetected for a decade.

“I was shocked,” Wilson said.

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Thankfully, the contractors recognized the problem—and fixed the faulty connections causing the leak.

Wilson’s health began to bounce back immediately.

While her voice is still recovering, Wilson is feeling like her old self again.

“I feel great,” she said. “I haven’t been this happy in I can’t tell how long.”

And she hugged every one of her contractors—the unlikely heroes who saved her life.

“I want to thank you guys for giving me my life back,” she told them.

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It’s a huge relief, and as Wilson recovers after years of suffering, she hopes that her story reminds people to be on the lookout for the effects of carbon monoxide—“the silent killer.”

“I feel like I’ve been given my life back,” she told ABC News. “And I’m hoping it will give somebody else their life back.”