Scleroderma- another challenge I WILL overcome.
I was diagnosed with Scleroderma in my late 30's approximately 3 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.......really? Haven't my family and I been through enough already? They say God doesn't give you more than you can handle.....
I started experiencing symptoms of Raynauds and shortness of breath toward the end of chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. Good news is I am a 6+ year breast cancer survivor and am cancer free! Bad news is in 2009 I found out I would be dealing with an autoimmune disease for the rest of my life as I was diagnosed with scleroderma (systemic sclerosis).
Today, I experience at least 10-15 Raynauds attacks daily (no meds seem to help) and I am prescribed an immunosupressant medication to hopefully stop the progression of interstitial lung disease caused by the scleroderma. The lung disease seemed to be at bay for a while, but recently started to progress again. My shortness of breath interferes with my daily living and I have a constant, annoying dry cough. I often have calcifications that develop on my fingers and can be very painful. Also (although I feel kind of vain to admit it) I struggle with the facial changes I have experienced, particularly the loss of fullness in my lips and wrinkling around them that make me appear to look older than I am.
I have a very supported family, a loving husband of 18 years and 2 children ages 22 and 16. My mom is also part of my wonderful support system. I continue to work full-time at a job I love in the field of substance abuse and remain as physically active as I can.
I will continue to fight this crappy disease, yes I said crappy because that is the best way I can describe it! I have faith in God that he has not given me more than I can handle and I will not let this disease take the joy out of my life!
- Patients & Newly Diagnosed
- Healthcare Professionals