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Kym P: Morphea

Two years ago I finally went and saw a rheumatologist, who, to my despair confirmed the diagnosis.

Apricot Watsonia by Sherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist It started almost seven years ago, when I developed an odd looking bruise about the size of a quarter on my shin. The next couple of years it slowly changed. It started drying out, regardless of how much lotion I used and it was beginning to dip in the middle. I finally gave in and went to a dermatologist. He did a biopsy and the results came back with morphea. Morphea?? Autoimmune?? Allergic to myself?

Needless to say I was confused and scared! I started pounding away at the keyboard, trying to find as much information as I could about it, which is something I still do today.

Two years ago I finally saw a rheumatologist, which, to my despair, confirmed the diagnosis. It is still only the one shin that is affected, starting just below my knee to above my ankle. I am thankful it hasn't reached my knee or ankle, and as slow as it is progressing now, it may not.

I know that these autoimmune diseases are something that the medical profession knows little about. But there were so many things I read on the internet that seemed to make sense to me.

My shin is the only area on my skin that is currently affected. But, there are other things I have had to battle with since childhood. Getting sick for one. I was a very sickly child, always having the sore throats, sinus trouble and the wonderful earaches. Who am I kidding, I am still sickly at thirty-three.

It takes me four times longer to recover from the common cold. I took so many antibiotics as a child that I am allergic to most of them now. I can only buy non-drowsy cold medicine as anything else puts me to sleep for hours on end. I have fought fatigue consistently since thirteen.

I have what I refer to as "my bones aching" for twenty years. It is only from the waist down, but when it is in my hips, knees or ankles, I get stiff and it hurts to walk, stand, sit or lay. It starts at my hips usually and works down. Sometimes it just last for hours, sometimes for days. It may hit three times in a week or twice a year! Good old ibuprofen helps to dull it until it passes.

Doctors always look at me with one eyebrow up when I explain this, as if to say "Yeah, sure it does, ha ha." I was taking antidepressants for years due to depression and anxiety.

Now for the good news; Let me give you a recap of the last two years. I still have what I call a "scar" on my shin. It will never disappear and I am fine with that. It looks better than it did before!

I started a non-medical treatment, even though the doctors yell and preach to me. I think it has smoothed out my scar. The color is more even, it is not quite as sunken in, some of the border has faded and it really appears to be spreading at a slower rate. I had a baby girl two and a half years ago, which must have triggered something in my body's chemistry. I am no longer taking antidepressants (and feeling better than ever) and I have lost close to one hundred pounds (with no effort on my part). I went from a size 20 to a 6. I am still sickly and have my bones ache, but I guess we can't always have it all.

I have learned to see the positive in everything. One thing that I have learned is that it could always be worse. I know it's hard to see at times, but I always dig and dig until I find the positive. I keep my chin up and a smile on my face!

To Contact the Author

Email: [email protected]
Story edited 12-05-07 JTD
Story posted 01-21-08 SLE

ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin
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ISN Artist: Sherrill Knaggs (In Loving Memory)

Sherrill KnaggsSherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist, created the digital photo to illustrate the story on this page. Sherrill lived in New Zealand. Her story was featured in ISN's book, Voices of Scleroderma Volume 2.

ISN Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin

Photo of JudithJudith Thompson Devlin is the ISN Story Editor for this story. She is also lead editor of the ISN's wonderful Voices of Scleroderma book series!

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