JohnJ

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About JohnJ

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  • Location
    St. Louis Mo.
  1. I too appreciate the knowledgable responses, thanks to all. I'm going on my third year, and wasn't even aware of such reviews. I obviously had no idea what was happening to me back in 2006/07 but was subsequently diagnosed, had a digital rays amputation and sympathectomy procedures. I just know if I would have tried to continue working in my field as an auto technician, I would have surely lost more digits, and exacerbated the symptoms, especially the Raynauds with all the stress that comes with helping to run a repair shop. I still am experiencing a great amount of stress as my wife has been so sick that she hasn't been able to work since 2009 with her own health issues, namely a hideous problem known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and fibromyalgia (FM). It's bad enough trying to make ends meet on 1/3 of what I used to earn, but now I have to pay cash for her meds, and doctors. appointments while she appeals her own SSD case, that was recently denied and on appeal to the AP (Appeals Council). Life ain't so grand living with health problems and stressful in their own right, but I try to look on the bright side, we have each other and take turns supporting one another through our difficult days. If you folks thought we had a hard time convincing the Social Security Administration (SSA) we truly are very sick and have a disabling disease, ask anyone who has CFS or FM how hard it is for them. The administrative law judge (ALJ) who denied my wife seemed to think that CFS can be "cured" by taking a few pills during a lunch break and all is miraculously well again! I could go on but suffice it to say that I agree with what another poster said so well, that is that SSA put you through the ringer the first time, and there is no cure for what we are afflicted with, so "forgetaboutit" and don't worry: your chances of being kicked out of the scleroderma disability "club" is next to nil. Best wishes to all and may you find some solace in knowing you aren't alone.
  2. I can tell you that like your husband, I too have stomach issues with severe cramping, and take stool softeners because of the the pain meds I take. Back pain is an everyday occurrence for me as well. I have 2 bad disks from a car accident and work injuries I sustained years ago, I also think any gastrointestinal complications and pressure involved with my stomach/digestive tract symptoms would also put pressure on my herniated disks and cause the pain in my lower back, but I'm not sure, it feels like it at times, as the back pain subsides when my gastro issues do too.. I wish your husband well, please tell him he's not alone and that there are other men suffering (mostly in silence I imagine) like us with this disease.
  3. This for me is the absolute worse thing about this illness. I have been on 50mg. tablet of Viagra daily, but only take it when I have really bad flareups, as it causes headaches. I tried the Nitro creme and like the Viagra, it causes severe headaches. I also have had 4 digital ulcers in the last 3 years which last about 8-9 months; this was after I had a right hand index finger amputation, and sympathectomies on both hands. All of my ulcers started after hitting my hand/fingers doing mundane things like reaching for something, or household chores. The stress from being fearful of hitting my fingers accidentally is maddening. For what it's worth my attacks come on everyday shortly after getting out of bed and cold temperatures from my wife blasting the air conditioning in the summer, or from the cold winters here in Missouri. If I could I would move back to Florida, as I had less attacks, lots of sunshine to keep my vitamin D levels up etc..But I couldn't find a doctor or clinic to treat me like the folks at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. I hope you find some relief, and take care not to injure your fingers.
  4. I couldn't agree with you more Sam, I too feel your frustration over SSD. I just started my fight with them in August, and got my "automatic" denial and have since hired an attorney. I thought about doing work as a check out clerk, but the Raynaud's and ulcers on my dominate hand hardly allow me to count my own money (what little I have). I plan on posting updates on my process with SSD. If we all can contribute our experiences we can learn how to fight them better. I do have one question though, are you having problems with your hands?
  5. Wow I truly commend you, dealing with this and raising children on top of it :o I feel bad when I am in a foul mood and my grandson is around, but I just try to roll right along and put my problems to the side. It actually helps teaching him to play the drums, as I concentrate on something other than my pain. Bless all you moms out there :)
  6. Sympathectomy is a surgical procedure that destroys some of the nerves to increase blood flow and decrease pain in certain diseases that cause narrowed blood vessels. I have already had a digital one done at the same time my right index finger was removed and it seemed to help, but did not last long as I have had the Raynaud's's manifest itself on my middle finger, on the same hand starting in July just past. This time they are going to deal with occlusions in my right arm, and palmer arch. Lisa, I think my ulcer/s won't heal because an angiogram shows much clotting/occlusions, especially along my right arm and hand. I wish it would heal. I was hoping they could do the above mentioned procedure, and perhaps do the re-plumbing in the hand, and see if the extra blood flow would enhance the healing process. That sounds like a plan to me. Oh and the time released pain med is wonderful, it is really helping a lot, and I've managed to sleep all the way through for 2 nights in a row :)
  7. UPDATE- I saw the Rhuematologist a few days ago. I went prepared to ask my questions, and she was very prepared to answer all of them. She looked me over, and according to my angiograms, she advised a surgical consult regarding partial amputation to remove my digital ulcer (DU), and discuss having a sympathectomy, and vein grafts. We found an increase of Telangiectasias on my back and 3 new ones on my cheek. She also ordered further testing, including blood tests, x-rays and the like. Also I needed to increase my Viagra dosage, and switch to a different pain medication. Unfortunately, my financial resources are limited. I explained that I was turned down by SSD, but she seemed confident that her report will help validate my claim on appeal. I also followed up with my primary doctor, and we changed my pain meds to a time released one. I did not want to do this but I was going through my other medicine too quickly, and there were concerns of liver toxicity. So all in all, I was pleased with the knowledge she displayed, but I am not looking forward to having a 3rd angiogram, and a 3rd amputation, and sympathectomy. Oh yeah, keep the stress level down too. That is easier said then done, considering most of my stress is because I cannot work and going through a financial hardship because of this disease.
  8. Well thank you all for the suggestions, I am excited to have the opportunity to see someone who possibly could do more for me other then give me pain meds. The XRay taken last week has come back clear as far as any bone infection or irregularities. I have been reading about Tracleer, and read a story about a 44 yr. old female patient who had 3 DUs on her left hand, after 8 weeks taking 62mgs twice a day, they were substantially healed. I think I would like to try this medicine before I settle on another amputation, as long as my liver cooperates. I can't believe this one sore on one finger has rendered my right hand nearly useless :blink:
  9. Craig, I can attest to what you are saying. It's been 2 days in a row, that I have banged my hand/finger, and each time almost my entire hand turns white, and is very painful. Two days ago I was merely turning the faucet knob on the kitchen sink when it slipped and hit the wall, and last night I hit the tip of my finger with the finger nail of another finger on my left hand while lathering in the shower and it was a bloody mess! I let out a yell and more then a few choice words as it feels like a window has slammed down on it, over and over again. Each time the hand turns white and takes about 15-20 minutes to turn normal color again. I have decided to keep my finger protector on, covered by a brown jersey glove on top of that at all times now. I also notice that even getting up out of bed I have a daily morning attack, and was told that it could be due to changing blood pressure. I'm ready to ask for a trial of Tracleer, and if that doesn't help I will request another amputation.
  10. My younger brother was on TV on 11th Nov. on a show entitled "Heroes At Home". It is sponsored by a major department store, and hosted by Howie Long, the famous football player (American). He and 5 other service people were treated to a home make over of sorts, while he was doing the interview, little did he know he would come back to a house full of furniture and needs for him and his new wife and baby daughter. It was quite touching, and made my eyes swell with pride and emotion. Him and his platoon were ambushed last year, the Medic was killed, and his Sergeant was shot. He was given a purple heart, and silver star medals for dragging his Sarg to cover essentially saving his Sergeant, while he took a bullet in the left foot that has rendered him to wheel chairs and crutches, while under going 5 operations. He is an inspiration to me, and when I have bad days with my disease, I think of him and his struggles and that keeps me going. Bless our service men and women, no matter what we may think of the wars, and our politics.
  11. Thanks for the tips ladies. Debonair susie mentioned I might have an infection. Last week my primary doctor had me take some xrays of the hand to see if I indeed had a bone infection. I mentioned I thought it looked like the stuff on the tip of the finger might be calcinosis and he brushed it off, and told me to not read too much into what I pick up on the internet, but I have learned more from this site and you folks then anywhere else! The pain is really bad today as a result of banging it while turning the water knob on the kitchen sink, and that was yesterday! While I am in pain, the Raynaud's attack is really severe. How does SSD expect me to hold a job? Anyway, I plan on making a list of everything that has occurred to date and will start a journal so I don't forget things in the future, I have also kept my cell phone along side me so I can take pictures of the attacks as well as the ulcer on my digit. Thanks again everyone, I feel better knowing I can come here and find some comfort and rant a bit. Bless, JohnJ
  12. Well at last I will see a specialist on the 18th of Nov. Can you folks give me a list of some things of what I should be asking, perhaps further testing and such? My symptoms have gotten worse, and I have severe Raynaud's attacks daily, and my middle finger on my right hand has a sore with a hole in it filled with a yellow substance, that is extremely painful. I take Viagra, a prescription pain reliever, and Prilosec for my worsening heartburn. I have noticed my fingers on my left hand starting to exhibit Raynaud's, as well as my toes, and I feel pain in my elbows and finger joints. I feel like a mess, and I was turned down by SSD I think partly because my medical records were not updated with the new diagnosis. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks, JohnJ
  13. Hi guys I hope you are well as can be. I'm bumming today, I had to turn down a job offer because it consisted of putting furniture together, and carrying heavy appliances, and I can't go grasping anything like that without excruciating pain. I still have hope of landing another position I applied for at an auto parts store, mostly counter work, but I'm running out of time and the bills are past due. I am going to put my Mustang GT for sale online today and hopefully sell it to make it through the winter. I love my Stang, we've been together a long time but I am having trouble coming up with money to pay the bills and I also need 200.00 to see the Rhuemo next month. I'll work it out somehow. The pain in my fingers is really bad this morning and radiates up to my elbow. It's time to hit the ol pain meds. I wish everyone a good day.- John
  14. Kujo and Nina
  15. Thanks again to all of you for responding and welcoming me aboard, I plan on sticking around for sure as you all sound like a terrific bunch of folks! Hey KarenL, I noticed you said part of your digit fell off! How in the world did you tolerate that. It must have been PAINFUL! How does that happen? Is it like waking up one day and there it is on the side of your bed or something? That is really freaking me out!!