I was diagnosed with localized scleroderma by a dermatologist in 1999 at age thirty-three. It started out as what I thought was a small bruise on my abdomen and grew into a shape larger than a dollar bill. It sometimes itched or was painful, so they prescribed a cortisone cream which made it burn.
I have seen numerous doctors with all different diagnosis, from oh it's nothing to you're going to die to yes it can cause some complications. I think the rare number of cases limits the knowledge and funding for this terrible disease.
My joints are so stiff that most times I can barely move. I have digestion problems and it feels like the food I eat takes several hours to days to move through my system. My muscles feel weak all the time even though I continue to try to keep them strong with exercise. Most times I just feel crippled and can't get out of bed. I am now forty-four and it seems to get worse everyday with most doctors totally clueless as to what to do. I tell them just treat the symptoms.
Morphea scleroderma is a form of localized scleroderma, which is never fatal, and which typically affects only the skin, and not the joints, digestive tract or internal organs. However, about one-fourth of morphea patients develop one or two symptoms outside of the skin patch(es). Various studies show that about 0 to 4% of morphea patients also have systemic scleroderma. Morphea can also occur along with any other disease so consultation with a listed scleroderma expert is especially important to accurately identify the cause of any systemic symptoms.
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Story posted 02-07-11 SLE
Story Artist: Shelley Ensz
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