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About JudithL

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  1. Marsha, I have two suggestions. Neither is ideal, but one or the other may help you until you find a more permanent solution. First, you could try wearing surgical gloves. They're obviously not insulated, but they do afford some degree of protection against the cold. And if surgeons can operate while wearing them, surely you can do your newspaper work with them on. Second, you might try fingerless gloves. It's obviously best to cover your fingers, but I find fingerless gloves to be better than nothing when you need to keep your fingers uncovered. Best of luck to you with this dilemma.
  2. Amanda, to prevent static cling when tumble drying, you can use anti-static dryer balls. They're inexpensive, reusable, and available in stores (at least in the U.S.) and online as well. They're basically plastic balls (about the size of tennis balls) covered with little protusions.
  3. Just thought I'd point out that in the U.S. the undergarment being referred to as "French knickers" is usually referred to as "tap pants."
  4. Hi Climber. I always see my rheumatologist, never an assistant, and it's been that way since my first visit (the day I was officially diagnosed). In addition, I've never had to wait very long for an appointment. If there's a shortage of rheumatologists (or any other specialist, for that matter), it's not apparent in my geographic region. I live on the west coast, by the way. Based on what I have read on this forum, I feel very fortunate to have easy access to excellent medical care.
  5. Hi Michelle. I'm posting from the U.S., so please excuse my American spelling. It was actually GAVE that led to my SSc diagnosis. To treat the GAVE, I've had argon laser ablations, the first of which was preceded by a whole blood infusion. I've never had an iron infusion. The GAVE was discovered when a routine annual exam revealed that I was severely anemic: iron was 12 based on a reference range of 30-160 ug/dL; ferritin was < 3 based on a reference range of 15-150 ng/ML; hemoglobin was 6.7 based on a reference range of 12-16 g/dL. Since that initial episode, I've not had readings quite so low. Judith
  6. I have swan neck deformity in two of my fingers. My rheumatologist told me it's a normal result of aging and not related to scleroderma. Whether or not that's true, I agree it's not pretty but at least it hasn't affected my manual dexterity. Most of my fingernails (and probably my toenails as well, but I haven't examined them as closely) are a mess (with ridges, cracks, valleys, odd curvature, etc.). They get worse in the winter, which doesn't make a lot of sense. But, with this disease, what does? Judith
  7. I apologize for asking what is surely a dumb question. I read the forum every day but rarely sign in. After reading the above post I signed in to see if I had any private messages but ... and here comes the dumb part ... I don't know how to check for private messages. Can someone please tell me how? Thanks in advance.
  8. Vanessa, I'm a breast cancer survivor but in my case the breast cancer preceded the scleroderma diagnosis so I can't offer advice but I do offer my support and a virtual pink ribbon.
  9. Hi Summer. It was iron deficiency anemia that led to my diagnosis of systemic sclerosis. Routine blood tests in conjunction with my annual physical showed that I was severely anemic, which led to an endoscopy and colonoscopy. The colonoscopy results were fine but the endoscopy revealed "watermelon stomach" (more properly called gastric antral vascular ectasia, or GAVE). That, combined with Raynaud's, led to an ANA test, which was positive and a subsequent visit to a rheumatologist, who gave me the Ssc diagnosis. Could you have GAVE? Just a thought. Judith
  10. Warm cider is delicious and wonderfully soothing.
  11. Hi Lisa. Just in case interpretation of ANA tests were not sufficiently confusing (false positives, etc.), the labs use two different methods for expressing the results. The first is the titer method, which is expressed as a ratio and indicates the number of times the blood sample must be diluted before no anti-nuclear antibodies can be detected. The second number in the ratio starts with 40 and then doubles (40, 80, 160, 320, etc.). For example, a titer of 1:40 means forty dilutions are required. With the titer method, a result of 1:40 or 1:80 (i.e., anything less than 100) is generally regarded as negative. The other method (not sure what it's called) expresses the result as an absolute number. It sounds as though that's the method used by the lab that evaluated your tests. So, the "less than 100" rule would not apply in your case. I hope your rheumatologist will be able to help in explaining your numbers.
  12. Just as an example of what Shelley said, where I live (SF bay area), a diagnosis of scleroderma automatically qualifies you for the local utility company's medical program. What this means is the number of units billed at the "base rate" is doubled, thus potentially lowering the cost of gas/electricity. The application for the program can be downloaded/printed from the company's website, and all that's needed is a doctor's signature. Income level is not a consideration.
  13. I haven't officially been diagnosed with Sjogren's but my ophthalmologist confirmed that I do have dry eyes. She gave me a sample of Systane, which did help, and recommended I purchase any OTC product that (1) contains no preservatives and (2) does not claim to relieve redness. She also suggested I use a flax seed oil supplement. I waited for a sale on the flax seed oil and, once I started taking the capsules, to my surprise, they worked so well that I stopped using the OTC eye drops.
  14. Hi Eileen. Before she would approve my request to see a rheumatologist, my primary care doctor sent me for bloodwork, and the results were: positive ANA (with titer >1:2560, Centromere pattern, negative SCL-70). I saw the rheumatologist a couple of weeks later and, based on the bloodwork plus a clinical evaluation, he diagnosed me with limited systemic sclerosis. I also have other, inconsistent abnormalities including low hemoglobin/hematocrit/etc (due to GAVE), high TSH (possibly due to thyroid issues), low neutrophil/lymphocyte counts (no explanation), high ALT/AST (again, no explanation). Judith
  15. No, besides the anemia, I don't have any symptoms that I can attribute to GAVE. Of course, the two times I've been anemic, I've felt awful ... tired, draggy and occasionally dizzy. The GI doctor gave me a prescription for iron pills to tide me over until he could perform the first ablation but I don't take them now.
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