I'd like to join the others in welcoming you to Sclero Forums. It is very wise for you to explore all your treatment options, as when scleroderma strikes in men, it tends to be caused by occupational exposures, and to take a more aggressive course. But scleroderma is also quite unpredictable. You never know when it is going to settle down, even on its own accord, and as Jo has shown, certain symptoms and even the illness itself can improve with appropriate treatment.
I know what it's like to go through the "feel like a burden" stuff. Would you mind terribly if I tell you how I got cured of that? Many years ago, I spent some quality time bedridden and in a wheelchair. I could no longer work or even do anything at all around the house. The only thing I was good at was sleeping, and eating meals by candlelight, in bed.
I somehow kept my spirits up, trying to think positive. But one day they slumped anyway, as you have seen can happen even to the very best and most determined of us, and I told my husband that I was worried that I was just a burden to him. He said, when people really love each other, there is no such thing as "burden". He never thought of me as a burden, not for a second! So, if I was thinking I was a burden, was I not loving him anymore?
Whoa, baby! Did you get that turnabout? I was becoming self-centered to think that way. I was not loving him when I thought that way. So I refocused my thoughts on the ways that I loved him, and on developing more loving and other-centered thoughts. I am so glad he called me on it. It probably saved me from lapsing into terminal self-pity, which could have been disastrous to our marriage.
Later on, I got a lot better but he got a lot worse. I ended up being a caregiver for him, whereupon I discovered, first hand, that what he said was really true! When you really love someone, there is no such thing as a "burden". It is a joy to care for them. Sure, it might be very hard sometimes, even utterly exhausting. But it feels good and nourishing to be able to show your love so actively, all the way down to your toes!
I regretted having ever thought like that myself. It was wasted emotion which didn't help me, didn't improve my health, didn't show appreciation (in fact, cut it off at the pass), and didn't help my relationships improve. It was garbage.
So, I recommend thinking about it, and perhaps considering giving up that line of reasoning. Unless, of course, you don't really love your loved ones. Arghghgh, eh?
I'm positive you do love them. You're just in a very tough spot. But I am absolutely certain that you will make the very best out of it. After all, everyone around here does! The ISN is just chock full of people who are making the best out of bad situations. You wouldn't have even posted here, if you weren't drawn to us because of having the same inclinations and determination. Your loved ones are LUCKY to have you around. You are a blessing to them, and I'm sure you will also be a blessing to us, too.