The Outstanding Story of Dom “The Bomb” and His “Dirty” Feet!

Dominick “Dom-the-Bomb” Lukowski has always loved baseball. But during his freshman year in high school, he was shocked to notice that he barely had the strength to throw a ball from second to first base.

Plus, his skin was changing color and he was constantly exhausted. He knew something was seriously wrong, but recurrent trips to the hospitals and doctors in their Oswego, Illinois area wasn’t solving the mystery.

Dominick and his parents were scared.

They finally hit a fair ball when they ended up in a specialist’s office. He noticed that the bottom of Dominick’s feet had dark pigmentation, one of the signs of a potentially life-threatening condition:

primary or chronic adrenocortical insufficiency, most commonly known as Addison’s disease.

In Addison’s disease, named after the doctor who first described it in 1855, the adrenal glands don’t work as well as they should. When functioning properly, the adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce important hormones, including adrenaline (the “fight-or-flight” hormone), cortisol (which helps the body respond to stress) and aldosterone (which helps control blood pressure).

In Addison’s disease, the adrenal glands don’t produce enough of these hormones. When the levels drop too low, Addison’s disease becomes life-threatening. About 4 people in 100,000 develop this disease annually and it occurs in all age groups, and equally in each sex.

President John F. Kennedy was one of the best-known people diagnosed with Addison’s disease

There are 2 forms of the disease:

  1. Primary adrenal insufficiency, where there’s a problem with the adrenal glands themselves
    • 70% of Addison’s disease cases are autoimmune-related; the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the adrenal glands, destroying their outer layer
  2. Secondary adrenal insufficiency, where the adrenal glands are affected by a problem that starts somewhere else in the body
    • The secondary form is less common and is caused by a problem with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus

After Dominick received his diagnosis he felt relieved to know what was wrong with him—and was determined to not let Addison’s disease get the better of him.

Dominick Lukowski swinging a baseball bat during a game
Dominick Lukowski crushing baseball and Addison’s disease!
Source: Kendall County Now

Baseball was what kept him motivated. His coach said Dominick “battled every single day; he was the hardest working kid on the team.”

Dominick immediately started on medications that help him manage his disease, and by his senior year he had once again cemented his spot on his high school baseball team’s starting lineup.

Now, he’s swinging for a chance to play college ball.

Swing hard and true, Dominick, just like the hero you are!


EmpatheticBadass

EmpatheticBadass

EmpatheticBadass is a young-at-heart writer from Ohio (Go, Bobcats & The Marching 110!)) who is passionate about being a voice for the patient perspective.

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