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Amanda Thorpe

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Posts posted by Amanda Thorpe


  1. Hello Andee

     

    I also have IC and was diagnosed with it in 2004, 3 years before the scleroderma. IC can be treated and has flares and calm periods, just get yourself a urologist used to treating it.

     

    We can't choose our circumstances but we can choose how we deal with them for sure! Shelley always has excellent suggestions about making the most of things and it certainly is possible!

     

    Take care and keep posting.


  2. Hello Jet

     

    Welcome and I am sorry that, having thus far survived cancer that you are now having to deal with lots of unwanted repercussions. Like Jo, I have no medical training, only 7 years experience living with scleroderma and that experience would suggest that you get the medical OK before exercising. I caused myself fasciitis by continuing to exercise when my scleroderma was on the rampage, who'd have thought that exercise would actually be harmful?! However, myositis (muscle disease caused by inflammation) can benefit from gentle, low impact exercise as Jo has already said.

     

    I hope that you find the support and information you need.

     

    Take care.


  3. Hello Jo

     

    You are really quite remarkable. 

     

    Margaret you are quite right! After Ma had her hip done she was so obsessed with no leg crossing that even I wasn't allowed to cross my own legs! Why?! Nevermind.

     

    Take it easy Jo and remember that you will soon be better than before...they have rebuilt you...better than before...if that's possible!

     

    Take care.


  4. Hello Ronald

     

    My foot ulcers have just recently healed, after being open for 4 years, Yep, 4 years! Unfortunately a new area has opened up on the right foot...

     

    I am in the UK and had District Nursing coming in quite frequently over the years, now down to once a month at my request. The ulcers have to be dressed and so forth and monitored by a professional. When they were infected they became more painful and well, smelly. The exudate also changed colour, more of a green hue to it, gross eh?

     

    My ulcer just closed of their own accord and resulted in the skin breaking down, not because of blood flow and everyone "gave up" on me just leaving me to District Nursing. Believe me I did see just about everyone and I couldn't wear the usual treatment of compression bandages.

     

    I have also had an ulcer on my shin after trauma to it and it became my third bout of cellulitis in 5 months, landing me in hospital.

     

    If the ulcer does not shift or appears infected I would get medical treatment. Remember that with scleroderma and Raynaud's (I assume you also have this) digital ulcers can progress to infection, gangrene and amputation

     

    For people with just Raynaud's, after an attack their blood vessels return to normal but thanks to scleroderma, scarring to our blood vessels can occur making Raynaud's treatment ineffective so we really have to be on top of controlling our Raynaud's and seeking medical attention sooner rather than later.

     

    Take care and keep posting.


  5. Hello Esme

     

    Welcome and there's been quite a few people of late posting because despite a lack of symptoms they have been diagnosed with scleroderma based solely on a blood test.

     

    I can only reiterate what has already been said which is that blood tests are a bit of a red herring. As it happens I have systemic and localised scleroderma but my blood work is and always has been negative. In fact if you put my anonymous blood test results in front of any doctor they'd say that there was nothing wrong with me! Methinks different.

     

    Until you get symptoms, that is if you ever get any, then I would not worry about it and if you want to see a list of systemic scleroderma symptoms, have a look at our video of systemic symptoms.

     

    Take care.


  6. Hello Andee

     

    Welcome and may I echo what has already been said, until you have specific symptoms you don't really have scleroderma because positive blood work without symptoms means very little. Sure, Raynaud's is a symptom but most people with Raynaud's don't have scleroderma although most people with scleroderma have Raynaud's. You may never develop any symptoms either.

     

    I have negative blood work and always have done but have both localised and systemic scleroderma then there's you with no symptoms but positive blood work. Wanna swap? No?! You might find it helpful to have a look at our video series especially those about diagnosis and symptoms of scleroderma.

     

    You are on the the rheumatologist's radar having tests etc so you're not starting from the other side of the door. Please let us know the outcome of your appointment and keep posting.


  7. Hello Debbie

     

    I have both systemic and localised scleroderma with morphea and bullous morphea. My patches of morphea are rather hard to detect now because most of my skin on my arms and legs is scleroderma brown! The blisters are a nuisance and are on my shins, they're very painful and when they burst can ulcerate.

     

    Morphea can burn itself out even without treatment but as Shelley has already said there is a preferred treatment for it. I am in the UK and there are not many centres offering UVA-1 Phototherapy with none anywhere near me. Having said that, for me, morphea has always been overshadowed by its systemic counterpart.

     

    Take care and keep posting.


  8. Hello Kathy

     

    Having been a person who vomits frequently because of migraines, the strain of vomiting can result in lovely, little red spots and swelling. Perhaps this contributed to the swelling?

     

    Whatever it is I hope you find the cause and enjoy relief from it.

     

    Take care.


  9. Hello Mystique123

     

    Welcome to the forums! You might find it helpful to have a look at our video series, especially diagnosis of scleroderma, symptoms of scleroderma and difficult diagnosis of scleroderma.

     

    Night sweats is not a scleroderma symptom although Raynaud's is, that said the majority of people with Raynaud's do not have scleroderma although the majority of people with scleroderma have Raynaud's. Not everyone with Raynaud's have colour changes or have it severely. I have it mildly with cramp when cold being my worst symptom.

     

    ESR and CRP measure inflammation and both being low means inflammation is low which is a good thing, as for ANA it is not automatic that people with scleroderma have a positive ANA. I have systemic and localised scleroderma with a negative ANA and some people with a positive ANA never develop scleroderma.

     

    Symptoms are the key when it comes to achieving diagnosis of scleroderma with biopsy and blood tests as well as any symptom specific tests being used to support diagnosis and categorise the type of scleroderma.

     

    Please keep posting and have a good wander around this rather splendid site!

     

    Take care.


  10. Hello Marchr

     

    Welcome and sorry your Mum is ill. I have Raynaud's, albeit mild and my hands do not change colour. My worst symptom when my extremities are cold is cramp because of the Raynaud's. Before I knew the cause of it I used to tape my fingers together to try and stop it, now I know better!

     

    I have Sclerodactyly it's my hands in the video. My early symptoms were swelling, pins and needles and years prior, pain in my hands when typing. I never woke up with claw like hands, in fact the beginning of sclerodactyly for me was ruler straight hands and fingers. The tight skin covered my arms and hands fixing my wrist and finger joins immobile so nothing would bend, at all! I couldn't even rotate my hands round to have the palms facing my face. Eventually the tight skin caused finger contractures and over the fingers went. Actually it is much easier to do anything with fingers curled than completely straight, who'd have thought it!

     

    My symptoms came on within 6 months but I have rapid onset diffuse and not everyone is this quick! I do not have and never have had positive blood work for scleroderma. Symptoms of scleroderma can come on at any stage, I developed reflux a few years in whereas for others it's a diagnostic symptom. 

     

    It's not a pleasant disease, I wouldn't recommend it but then I don't know of any disease anyone would! What I do know is that you can carve out a good quality of life. It ain't easy but family support really helps and your mother clearly has that.

     

    "or did things begin to dwindle on their own after 3-5 years (apparently this happens to most people" 

     

    Yeah, I have debated this with my rheumatologist before because I have NEVER met or heard of anyone with systemic scleroderma who has this experience. I actually think it's bunkum but that is just my opinion. 7 years in and I still await this plateau, as they call it, but I have to acknowledge that scleroderma can wax and wane of its own accord. As for it dwindling without treatment, that refers to the localised types of the disease as far as I am aware. Localised scleroderma does not affect internal organs and is never life threatening.

     

    Finally seeing a scleroderma expert is always our recommendation, this disease is just too complex to chance to rheumatologists who have no experience of it.

     

    Take care and keep posting.


  11. Hello LCT2007

     

    This is why it's so important to see a scleroderma expert, as in one on the list that Jo has given you the link for. 

     

    It seems that the conclusion is that your daughter has scleroderma and it's just a matter of time but not everyone with Raynaud's develops scleroderma.  As it is there is no diagnostic, sure fire marker. You see positive ANA & SCL-70 does NOT  mean you have or will have scleroderma just as negative ANA & SCL-70 does not mean you do not have scleroderma. Based on his logic, I don't have scleroderma because my blood markers are ALL negative but I have one of the worst forms of the disease.

     

    Also, scleroderma can affect the kidneys but cautious of predictions of what organs will be involved. At diagnosis I had NO internal organ involvement just massive skin involvement with negative blood work and I was told that it was highly unlikely I would develop internal organ involvement because I had negative ANA & SCL-70,  Imagine my surprise to find myself with myocardial fibrosis and serious heart failure two years later. I was not impressed.

     

    My blood work was negative at diagnosis and has remained so for the 7 years I have had the disease but it's worth bearing in mind that blood markers can change from positive to negative and so forth.

     

    It is really good that your daughter is being monitored and if you're going to seek a second opinion, which is a good idea, why not make it a juvenile scleroderma expert?

     

    Going to meetings is always useful because you'll meet other people with the disease but being informed works both ways and I don't envy you the weight you're carrying for your daughter.

     

    Please bear in mind that I give my opinion as a person with the disease not an expert of the disease and I have no idea whether your daughter has/won't have scleroderma. I am aware that Raynaud's can be a predictor for it as can a positive ANA & SCL-70 but I do believe (as a non medical layperson) that these two alone don't automatically mean scleroderma.

     

    Keep posting and take care.


  12. Hello Lct2007

     

    Welcome to the forums although I realise you'd rather be anywhere else.

     

    Although a large percentage of people with scleroderma have Raynaud's (Raynaud's Phenomenon or Secondary Raynaud's) only a small percentage of people with a primary diagnosis of Raynaud's ( Raynaud's Disease or Primary Raynaud's) also have scleroderma. Odds are in your daughter's favour that she won't have scleroderma.

     

    As for antibodies, what a nuisance they can be! You have people with scleroderma and negative antibodies (like me) and people with positive antibodies and no scleroderma, what a palaver! That's why symptoms are the key and thus far your daughter only has Raynaud's as do thousands of other people who don't have scleroderma. 

     

    For you both it's a waiting game I'm afraid, please do post often.

     

    Take care.


  13. Hello Vfazfont

     

    Welcome and most of what I could say has already been said! I can confirm that diagnosis of scleroderma can be long and arduous because there is no one diagnostic test to confirm it, rather diagnosis is based on symptoms, physical exam and clinical history. I suggest you see a scleroderma expert and have a look at our scleroderma video series which includes videos about symptom and diagnosis of scleroderma as well as our Raynaud's video series.

     

    Take care and keep posting.


  14. Hello Dbig
     
    Welcome to the forums. Slow healing is not, I think, automatic in scleroderma but as the follows says, depends on the individual:
     
    "They used to advise all scleroderma patients to avoid surgery whenever possible, due to concerns about wound healing. Now that is not a blanket recommendation, but rather is an issue to be considered on an individual basis." 

     

    What is accepted is that stress impedes wound healing, have a look at our emotional adjustment page, it's full of good advice.

     

    I am not aware that scleroderma itself causes bruising but morphea plaques (a type of localised scleroderma) can look like old bruises.

     

    As Jo has already said diagnosis of scleroderma requires more than positive blood work, have a look at the list of systemic scleroderma symptoms, mind you many of them may be similar to those cause by your existing illnesses.

     

    Should you have scleroderma, it will be an overlap disease which means you won't get the full spectrum of the disease but some of it which is a positive.

     

    Let us know how you get on and take care.


  15. Hello Automartin

     

    Welcome to the forums!

     

    Please see our difficult diagnosis resources as well as our symptoms of scleroderma and diagnosis of scleroderma, all of which include short videos. Hives are not a symptom of scleroderma and although fatigue is common to scleroderma (can be crippling) it's not actually a diagnostic symptom for scleroderma because it can be caused by many other diseases.

     

    Diagnosis of scleroderma is usually based on a combination of clinical history, physical examination, presentation of symptoms with blood tests playing a supporting role and they can also help to further categorize the type of scleroderma but should not be solely relied upon to provide or rule out diagnosis. It is possible to have blood work positive for scleroderma with no symptoms (now or in the future) and to have scleroderma symptoms with negative blood work. I have rapid onset diffuse systemic scleroderma but with negative ANA & SCL-70 and always have done and my rheumatoid factor is normal.

     

    Symptom lead tests and biopsy can also help to determine what ails us and with scleroderma being so complex and difficult to diagnose every test helps. Unfortunately there is no one test to rule scleroderma in or out and with blood tests further muddying the water it is important to have a symptom led diagnosis preferably conducted by a scleroderma expert as already stated by Jo.

     

    I have no idea whether you have scleroderma or not but either way I hope this helps and please continue to post any questions you may have as well as letting us know how you get on.

     

    Take care and keep posting.


  16. Peggy, I don't know if this helps but 99% of my blood draws involve digging around, trying to find the vein. When the anesthetist, doppler in hand, had to put the cannula needle into a deep vein and moved the needle up, down, all around it was less painful than the initial stick, what they call "a sharp scratch". Sharp scratch my eye! Mind you I guess that's the point, the initial "sharp scratch" is really painful!

     

     

    Take care.


  17. Hello Sweet

     

    Do you mean that you have NOT had an amazing, spontaneous total plateau, in which everything gets better and scleroderma just slopes off into oblivion? No? Shocker! 

     

    Hmmm, after 7 years I have not met anyone who has had such a plateau either, oh, sure scleroderma has stopped trying to kill them at every turn but the damage done is, well, done. 

     

    :emoticon-congratulations:  :emoticon-congratulations: Here's to the expected permanent continuation of your disability benefit. :emoticon-congratulations:  :emoticon-congratulations: 

     

    Take care.


  18. Hello Peggy

     

    Plaquenil is included in the class of drugs called DMARD (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug) and is actually classed as an antimalarial drug not an immunosuppressant. It is also used to treat Lupus, usually with immunosuppressants, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Plaquenil has potentially serious side effects such as permanent dark skin plaques, which resemble black and blue marks as well as toxic retinopathy.

     

    It is certainly a very serious drug and its continuous use worthy of review but if you stop it (titrating down and off) would not the symptoms it suppressed reappear to trouble Gareth?

     

    Take care.


  19. Hello Pinetree

     

    Good, good and even better!

     

    Remember to be kind to yourself, for instance, if you were on prescription painkillers for 3 months you should have titrated down and then off of them rather than go cold turkey. Doing so not only causes us emotional stress but can also stress the body and be dangerous because we become physically dependent on any chemical we take for an extended period of time. I say dependent not addicted, that's another matter.

     

    I have titrated down and off sleeping tablets, steroids and decided to abruptly stop amitriptyline after being on it for a number of years and then wondered why I was a wreck for weeks. Duh! We've all done it but no way am I doing it again!

     

    Also be kind to yourself returning to work, I don't know how long you were off for but when I was off for 3 months I had to do rehab hours on my return and it took a month to build back up to full time! I was amazed at how hard I found it and really did need to start slowly.

     

    I understand dropping off the edge of the world, I did 7 years ago and am still waiting to come back! :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

     

    Take care.


  20. Hello Sandcat

     

    Welcome and yes, the answer is yes. Scleroderma is a life limiting illness but we usually misunderstand what this means. When diagnosed in 2007, the answer to my life expectancy, was at least 10 years but here's the kicker, I was 39 years old at the time. The answer to how long I could have expected to live pre scleroderma would have been at least 30-40 years, so you see life limiting.

     

    It's not just cancer that's life limiting and it's not just 6 months to 2 years that constitutes a life limiting disease.

     

    I would answer yes, after all, if you're wrong I doubt anyone would sue you for continuing to live!

     

    Take care

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