It all began when I was five years old, in 1963. In my city of origin, pediatricians did not know what was happening to me, and when they saw how those white spots turned darker, and how some parts of my body were so dry and irritated, they sent me to Madrid.
After many problems and studies, the only thing my parents found out was that it was not contagious for my brothers, nor hereditary. I took vitamins every day, until I got tired of so many pills.
I grew up and learned how to live with my atrophies. I got married, and had four kids without knowing how serious this was, without even knowing I had an illness.
One day, after being sick for a time, my doctor found out I had a serious case anemia, and at the same time sent me to the dermatologist. He, in turn, sent me to the hospital Salamanca, where I was diagnosed with linear scleroderma, with a short term treatment, since the medication would not allow me to recover from my anemia.
I next began to trip and fall very easily. Doctors saw that I was affected to the point of suffering hemiparesis on my left side. I began to have spasms and was treated by a neurologist. By this time I considered anemia something quite normal in me.
I began to lose weight, until I was 37 kilograms (82 pounds), and after that they discovered I had hypothyroidism. During the tests they also discovered that my stomach was shaped like a cylinder.
In the meantime, my anemia was not getting any better, and neither was the pain, so they checked and discovered a tumor in my colon. I had an emergency operation and as soon as I was better I went through chemotherapy. I went from 37 to 62 kilos (137 pounds). But things did not get better, now I had one more thing to worry about, I had become diabetic.
Five years have gone by since the surgery, and while it has been very hard, I have stopped developing polyps. The oncologist released me last month, but I feel worse with every day that goes by. I am always very tired, and I suffer from pain that will not go away no matter what I do. I am happy that I did not get cancer, but a bit sad because I cannot enjoy it fully, pain and tiredness do not allow me to. Those around me do not see what goes on every day, this makes the situation even harder, because even if I can't, I have to do what is expected of me. They want me to be a perfect mother and wife, and that is too much sometimes.
I think it would be interesting if a rheumatologist could treat me, perhaps he could help me ease the pain. The other symptoms and problems are controlled, each with its own specialist.
I do not know whether all the things that have happened to me are related to my base illness, scleroderma, whether the hemangiomas in my liver, and the nodules in my kidneys, as well as my retina with a cyst can be associated to this. The only thing I know is that the muscular mass of the affected zones is decaying really slowly, at least something good is happening.
I love life, and I am willing to be here a long time, if you help me a little, it would be so much better. I would like to know whether in my city, Cáceres, Spain, there is somebody who suffers from scleroderma. Thank you for your attention.
Email: [email protected]
Story edited 08-16-06 JTD
Stor posted 09-26-06 SLE
ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Translator: Alba León
Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin
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