Hi, I'm Craig Roothoff, ISN Assistant News Guide.
I live in Escondido, California, which is near San Diego. I am fifty-five years old. My hobbies are gardening, rebuilding old pneumatic player pianos, reading, and taking care of my dachshund, Sadie. I've always loved to take just about anything apart and, with luck, fix them. The same curiosity seems to apply to things medical, since I must know how things work.
I worked for many years for the Zoological Society of San Diego as Director of Food Service and as a financial analyst at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I have a BA in philosophy and a BA in economics, both from San Diego State University.
My first symptoms of scleroderma started in 1977, when I was twenty-two. The main problem was Raynaud's with some ulceration. Not long after this, my father experienced kidney failure and lung problems which eventually led to a diagnosis of scleroderma. For the past 20 or 30 years he had “cold hands” and would carry around hand warmers that looked like big cigarette lighters. He also had stomach problems that he thought were caused by a hiatal hernia. Were it not for my father's diagnosis, I probably would have gone undiagnosed for a decade or two. The diagnosis was CREST or slow-onset scleroderma.
This was relatively easy to cope with until 2002, when I developed Burkitt's lymphoma, one of the fastest growing of all human cancers. This was treated with several rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. After this treatment everything got worse. Episodes of fatigue, pulmonary hypertension, secondary Sjogren's syndrome and peripheral neuropathy in my feet made things much more difficult.
I also had a complete right hip replacement for an avascular necrosis, thought to have been brought on by prednisone therapy. It is unusual that I have a familial connection (possibly hereditary), since my father had the disease, and it only effects the males in my family (no autoimmune disease among my mother and two sisters). A few years ago I became more interested in finding out more and meeting others with the disease, so I joined the ISN.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.