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Moving To A Warmer Climate?


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#1 Eddie Fication

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 04:56 AM

I am married to a 42 yr old woman with scleroderma and Raynaud's. My wife was diagnosed about 12 years ago, and her symptoms are primarily in her hands and feet, with ulcers, swelling, and extreme sensitivity to cold. About a year ago, we moved from southern California to the midwestern US, where the summers are warm but the winters can be very cold. Here the air conditioning is a problem in the summer and the outdoor temps are too cold in the winter. The air pressure (or humidity) also seem to have a negative impact on her health. My question for this forum is: Is it critical, to my wife's long term health, for us to live in an area with warmer climate like southern California? Are there any other locations in the US that are ideally suited for those that suffer from scleroderma and Raynaud's? There are many good reasons for us to live in the midwest (family, work, cost of living), but it seems that her health would trump all of those issues. Please let me know your opinions about climate on scleroderma. Thank you.

#2 jefa

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 06:11 AM

Hi, Eddie and welcome to the forums. I'm glad you found us and hope interfacing with the lovely folks on the forum will be a big help to you and your wife.

You raise some valid questions, but there are no answers that are right for every situation. We have members all over the globe and Raynaud's can be an issue in any climate.

I live in Scotland where it is damp all the time and very cold in the winter. Yet some of my worse Raynaud's attacks have been indoors because of air movement on exposed toes or fingers. I would suggest that you both choose a place that you can be happy in together for all of the reasons that you mention, then concentrate on finding ways to make lifestyle adjustments to cope.

Here is a link to our very informative page on Raynaud's.

In the meantime, please make yourself at home and feel free to ask any questions you can think of.
Warm wishes,
Jefa

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#3 mando621

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 09:38 AM

Hi Eddie,

Your wife is so lucky to have you. My husband is very uncomfortable talking about my health issues.

As to your question. I live in the upper mid-west and yes it gets cold in the winter. I don't have Raynauds to a point where I have major issues with ulcerations or that type, but it does act up a lot. I've found that I can't handle much heat so for me, a move south would not be of interest to me. I'd end up in air-conditioning all the time, and I find that really worse than winter time.

I bundle up tons in the winter, lots of layers and I'm pretty much good to go. The charcoal heating packets, that warm up when exposed to air are the best things ever!!! They even have some to go in the toes of shoes to keep feet toasty.

Now, summer time is another matter. I can't tolerate heat too well, I've had heat exhaustion twice. Well, I dress for summer and then suffer anytime I need to be indoors where it is air conditioned. We rarely use our air conditioner, and then it is set pretty conservatively at 78 or 79 F.

I'd discuss it over with your wife, give it a little time to see what pans out in the different seasons. Weather is so changeable everwhere you are bound to run into all types of problems anywhere. If family is close, then for me that would be a major deciding factor in staying in the midwest. Having family around is a huge plus.

Hang in there. Keep us posted, and encourage your wife to join us if she hasn't already. It is always interesting finding someone nearby. I'm 46 and I've been dealing with issues for the last 10 years or so.

Mando in Wisconsin.

#4 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 11:21 AM

Hi Eddie,

Welcome to Sclero Forums, we are delighted to have you here! I'm sorry your wife has scleroderma and send my best wishes to both of you.

You raise an interesting question regarding climate and scleroderma. I imagine you will garner many different perspectives from forum members.

As for me, I live in Minnesota, and I find summer the hardest to deal with, due to unexpected blasts of totally frigid air conditioning in many public buildings. In the winter, I have coat, scarf and gloves right at hand. So I would personally shy away from very warm climates where air conditioning is the norm everywhere, all the time.

One of my huge secrets for surviving so well here is that we live in a condo with walls that are 12" thick of concrete; a heating system that is not drafty; and an underground heated garage. Without those amenities, I'm really not sure I'd survive or thrive in this sort of climate. If you are going to move for her health reasons, you might want to consider a temperate climate rather than a very hot climate. (I also can't tolerate heat well, so that might be my own preferences speaking.)

If you were well and happily settled in southern California before, and both think that her health was better there, then wow, that's a lot to weigh, between all the factors. If you have a network of friends in California that might stand in well for the relatives, that would rather tilt things in favor of returning there. I used to live in San Diego, and the weather there was nearly perfect and gorgeous every day. Then it was about 77 degrees year around and we never used either heat or air conditioning. I'm not up on what the weather is like there now, but I imagine it couldn't be too far different.

Let us know how things go in weighing this decision. I'd be interested in hearing from people in southern California, too, to see if they think the weather plays a positive or negative factor in their health.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#5 MaryFanPhilly

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 11:18 AM

Hello Folks,

Funny this issue should arise just now, in a timely fashion for me personally.

Having diffuse sclero and terrible Raynaud's, not to mention diabetes and very poor circulation, my little family (my two grown sons and myself) decided it was time to move away from the east coast and brutal winters, to the milder climes of the Sacramento valley. Many of you who know me on this board are aware that it's been my dream for a while to move here.

We arrived last Monday after having driven the entire way with two cats and a bird!

The timing was right for us, and we have friends in the area as well as having visited many, many times. Every day since we arrived has been cool in the morning and evening, and warm during the day but not so hot that we've had to but the air on for more than an hour or so at a time. The winter months here are much milder than New Jersey, and feel more like April to me, which is chilly but do-able.

My personal experience is that winter was just too miserable for me. I was not able to work because of arthritic pain made much worse with high humidity in both winter and summer and I felt like a virtual prisoner in the winter months, and summer not being much better since everywhere is air conditioned to the point of frost, especially restaurants and movie theaters. Two pairs of socks and a heated blanket all day -and sometimes a hoodie as well- every day is more than I want to deal with for the rest of my life. I am hoping that perhaps I can work once again, since the times I have been here, my arthritis is a walk in the park compared with New Jersey. Just being able to go out for bread and milk in January will be such a pleasure, and never having to scrape ice off my car is more bliss than I think I can stand.

So Eddie, to answer your question, and speaking with my doctors about this, the consensus in my case was, moving to a warm/temperate climate will not prolong my life but will certainly make my life easier and more pleasant. Lack of humidity here is what I think makes the big difference, the dry heat feels just wonderful. My biggest hope is to be released from the prison of prednisone, but that will be a bit in the future.

Can I still be MaryFanPhilly or must I become MaryFanCali?? only kidding.

Good luck and I hope you find the right combination to help your wife.... I and many of us on the board surely empathize. My solution was kind of radical but it was the right thing for us, and besides, it gives the Easterners someplace nice to visit, :lol: .

Mary in Cali
Diffuse sclero; diabetes; hypertension; GERD with Barrett's

#6 Sweet

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 04:55 AM

Hello MaryFranPhillyCali!! :)

Oh I'm so excited for you! We have great springs, summers, and falls, but FREEZING winters and a lot of snow, high winds etc. Makes me feel like I'm in Alaska. Last winter, well I just didn't do last winter LOL I was prisoner in my own home and I hated it. The winter before that I actually skied once. This past winter was the first in 25 years I didn't ski. The winter before that when I went once was just plain dumb I even tried, but I think I was in denial.

Anyway, I'm with ya on the warmer climates being a plus in how we feel on a day to day basis.
Warm and gentle hugs,

Pamela
ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#7 janey

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:09 AM

Eddie,
Welcome! So sorry to hear that your wife is suffering with scleroderma, but it's great that you have taken such an active roll in her health. I know I couldn't have made it this far without the love and support of my husband. Here's a huge (((((((((((HUG))))))))))) to all our wonderful caregivers!

Every time my hubby and I travel we have the discussion on whether or not to move. We've lived 35 years on a high desert of the southwest (one mile high). We absolutely love it here, but the winters can tend to be cold and keep me from going outside on most days. Other seasons are marvelous; however, my problem is the altitude. I have pulmonary hypertension so the altitude has a huge effect on my oxygen requirements and activity levels. When we travel to sea level, I don't even have to use oxygen and overall, I do better. But is it worth moving? All my friends and some family are here. I wouldn't live where other members of my family are because of the extreme heat and high humidity. That's the worst for me. So we've decided to stick it out here where life is good. I've made a few sacrifices, but it's worth it. So that's what you and your wife need to decide. Quality of life includes not just one's health, but her emotional state, support, family, friends, etc. Sounds like it's time to make a pros and cons list. :)

Good luck with whatever your decide. We're tougher than we think we are and things will work out once we have set our minds to it.

To MaryFanCali - congratulations!!!!!! I hope you enjoy your new life!

Big Hugs to you and your wife.
Janey Willis
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#8 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 10:17 AM

MaryFanCali, congratulations on your move! What a delightful, proactive and life-changing experience you've taken on. I am sure you'll be patting yourself on the back every day for having the sense to get out of the cold.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#9 MaryFanPhilly

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:29 PM

Thanks guys! It is a bit scary being 2840 miles away from the old neighborhood.... the internet and cell phones make it seem shorter. But I think the winters will make up for it. Anyone who wants to visit let me know!
Luv,
Mary in (yay!) Cali
Diffuse sclero; diabetes; hypertension; GERD with Barrett's

#10 Gidget

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:53 AM

Eddie,
Used to live in Connecticut and moved to Northeast Florida. I have sclero with lung involvement and Raynaud's. The change in weather helped me in the following areas:
- Warmer weather improved circulation. Less sores on my fingers.
- Slower lifestyle eliminated stress
- Humidity was good for my very very dry skin.
- Good weather all year which means that I can walk all year which has been good for my overall fitness.

In CT, during the winters I would be curled up on the couch which kept me stiff and sore. I believe that my change in lifestyle and environment has had a huge impact on me and my quality of life. Good luck. Gidget