Legendary Philadelphia news presenter Lisa Thomas-Laury seemed to lead a privileged life.
She defeated Oprah Winfrey in 1978 for a coveted position at WPVI where she spent decades hosting the 5 p.m. broadcast. They brought up their two sons in their Haverford home when she wed a charming doctor.
Thomas-Laury was secretly battling demons on two different fronts behind the camera.
She had POEMS syndrome, a rare ailment that paralyzed her vocal cords, consigned her to a wheelchair, and necessitated two bone marrow transplants. The painkillers she was given to alleviate her persistent pain later caused her to develop an addiction.
She told NBC10’s Erin Coleman, “I was at the height of my profession. This incident appeared out of nowhere.
When Thomas-Laury was out on a stroll in 2001, her ankles suddenly felt weak, and she experienced shooting pains down her legs.
Thomas-Laury was identified by a physician at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood as having POEMS, a blood illness that results in numbness and tingling in the legs, an enlarged spleen or liver, abnormal hormone levels, and skin discoloration.
Thomas-doctor Laury’s had to move and make referrals to other experts at Lankenau before she could start therapy. She was sent on a medical journey that finally ended in failure since those doctors disagreed with the first diagnosis.
For more than two years, she suffered from worsening health until her vocal cords were paralyzed and her organs started to die down. She needed a wheelchair because standing and walking put too much strain on her ankles. The once-athletic Thomas-Laury limped in leg braces when she did walk.
When I didn’t have the solutions, she claimed, “I would always be the one to have them, and I became really depressed.” “I won’t say I lost hope, but I was quite… concerned,” the speaker said.
Her physicians recommended OxyContin to treat her pain. Initially, it was 10 milligrams taken twice daily. That soon proved inadequate for controlling the agony. For the sake of feeling normal, she started to cut her pills in half and steal more during the day.
She explained, “That’s what happens when you get this reliance. “It’s not a good idea to try to manage your medicine on your own. Later, I discovered that.”
Thomas-Laury encountered situations where she was separated from her house and her OxyContin. She experienced anxiety, stress, and irritability if she missed a dose. Thomas-Laury once forgot to bring her prescription with her when she and her husband took their son to Washington, D.C. As withdrawal set in, the drive became intolerable.
I tallied up to 100 both forward and backward. I sang children’s songs. She remarked, “I tried to sing along with the tunes playing on the radio. “[My spouse] would extend his hand to take my hand. When I was about to quickly push his hand away, I would grab it tightly with my fingernails sinking in.
Thomas-Laury realized she wasn’t herself by the time she got home. I wasn’t in pain, she declared. “I took it because my body told me I needed it to calm down,” the person said.
Thomas-Laury was familiar with how addiction appeared. Her sons’ friends’ kids and their friends’ kids had overdose deaths.
Even though it had been almost ten years since the opioid crisis first gained attention as a public health issue, the newswoman was not about to do anything. She began to exorcise one of her demons after enrolling in a drug rehab program.
Thomas-Laury met a Wisconsin girl, 16, while he was getting well. After breaking her ankle as a star soccer player, she developed a Percocet addiction. Then there was the Iowan man whose wife had issued an ultimatum: go to rehab or get a divorce.
She remarked, “I realized I’m here with individuals who have a lot worse issues than I do, who are likely to stay here longer. Although it was a huge eye-opener for me, I never considered why I was there. I had arrived at my destination.
Thomas-Laury is now sharing her experience in the hope that it would help others recognize the warning signs of addiction before it is too late.
She said, “We have to be alert with our eyes and ears.” “Discuss the issues that are affecting our sons and daughters’ lives with them, and encourage them to get help.”