My name is Mark Burnett, and I was diagnosed with Raynaud's about fourteen years ago. It began when I started to get extremely painful fingers and feet while playing hockey so I went to see a local dermatologist.
He diagnosed me with Raynaud's and explained to me how to prevent it from getting worse, and to stop playing hockey was first on the list. This was a very difficult thing for me to do, since hockey had been part of my life for over fifteen years, and I live in Canada.
I was put on some medication and given a very strict diet to follow. After using the medicine and dieting for over a year, the Raynaud's progression was under very good control.
Then one day I decided to stop my medication and the diet and I did not return to see the doctor. I was very frustrated at the time and maybe this was not the best idea, but being stubborn, it was a choice I had decided to make.
Over the next few years I began playing hockey again, even though it was very painful, and I mean painful! I also started working at a job that required working outdoors in -30 Celcius weather all day every day, working with vibrating equipment most of the time.
After a few years I could not do this anymore, so I quit hockey again and I went back to school to become a graphic designer/illustrator. After graduating near the top of my class, I found it difficult to obtain work for various reasons, including the fact that I cannot use my hands for long periods of time without them cramping up. Therefore, I decided to open my own small graphics business, which allows me to work and stretch out the hours at various times, which I could not do at a nine-to-five job. So far the going is slow, but who knows what the future holds!
Recently, after having problems with my flexibility and more digital ulcers and also ulcers on my elbows, I went back to see my doctor. A new specialist diagnosed me with CREST scleroderma. Initially the diagnosis was not a big deal to me, but after recently having a daughter I decided that it may be a good idea to look into the problem a bit more.
To be quite honest, the information I have obtained has not helped to ease my mind. There are many good stories, but also some really nasty ones and I haven't read too many stories about males with the problem, so I decided to write in.
I am going to Toronto to see another specialist in a month to hopefully get more answers, and maybe then I will update my story. Until then, any information people can give me which may help would be greatly appreciated.
Wishing everyone health and happiness!
Story posted 3-29-03
ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Devlin
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