Hi, I'm Carrie Maddoux. I am a retired electronics production manager/manufacturing engineer living near Glasgow, Scotland with my husband, Jim, and our whitefaced cockatiel, Poirot. We both write novels, short stories and poetry and before I became ill, I edited two literary journals. Before I came to Scotland in 1997, I lived in California, still the home of my aging parents, my son and daughter, their spouses and three beautiful grandchildren. I miss all of them terribly.
Like many of the members of Sclero Forums, my diagnosis is still very much a work in progress. In early 2003 I contracted a nasty upper respiratory virus during my recovery from a total hysterectomy. This was followed by an acute inflammatory attack. I was overwhelmed with a general feeling of nausea, sweats, fever and fatigue and I had swelling in joints all over my body as well as in lymph nodes, tendons, etc. My GP first thought it was still part of the viral infection, or that I had returned to work too soon after my hysterectomy.
The violent symptoms began to subside, but I continued to have symmetrical joint inflammation and morning stiffness lasting as long as an hour. My GP prescribed Celebrex for the inflammation that brought a measure of relief, but I kept adding symptoms to the list (my fingers were tight and felt heavy, I couldn't reach behind my back, my grip failed at times) and she began to question whether I was depressed and offered medication, which I refused.
I showed her an article on rheumatoid arthritis that outlined most of my symptoms. She referred me to a rheumatologist who finally saw me in September that year. My erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were (and continue to be) elevated, but with a negative rheumatoid factor and antinuclear antibody (ANA) he could not formally diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. He believed the cause was viral and that the symptoms would go away in a few months.
Two years later I was working progressively fewer hours as I continued to experience a great deal of fatigue, pain and inflammation. The air conditioning in my office made my hands, neck, feet and legs cold. I typed with fingerless mittens or sock tops over my hands to keep warm. The fatigue was cumulative: I grew more tired and unable to function as the day wore on and also as the week progressed. Since May of 2005 I felt so unwell that I could not even manage the trip to work without exhaustion and a feeling of shakiness and queasiness. My company finally processed my medical retirement in March 2007.
I found a new rheumatologist in August of 2006. The new clinic is worlds ahead of the old one and the people on the team actually listen to me. The rheumy took note of my cold hands, now also turning blue, and added the diagnosis of Raynaud's. I told him of my web research and suggested the possibility of scleroderma. He took note of that, too, and ran a complete panel of blood tests. We discussed the problems I have been having with swallowing, reflux, sluggish bowels and abdominal pains. I had new x-rays, which showed some narrowing of joint spaces and osteopoenia, but no synovial erosion. The latest diagnosis is inflammatory polyarthritis, osteoarthritis of hips and knees (I have had this for twenty years), secondary Raynaud's, GERD and possible scleroderma, even though the ANA tests are still negative. A recent endoscopy showed a hiatal hernia.
His last notes documented clinical observations of connective tissue involvement including tightness around eyes and mouth and hardening skin on fingertips and palms. In light of the negative immunology, however, he believes it to be relatively benign, but has ordered routine urinalysis to watch for kidney problems and will continue to observe in clinic for the next two years to monitor progression.
In February 2010, I retired as ISN Sclero Forums Director, and I am continuing on as an ISN Chat Host, ISN Blog Manager, and ISN Sclero Forums Support Specialist. I really appreciate the flexibility of volunteering with the ISN, as our roles can be adjusted to suit differing demands on time and energies.
Even the best coping mechanisms (supportive family and a sense of humour among them), aren't enough sometimes and there are those days when you want to say, "I don't want to play anymore." That is the benefit of forums such as these. The real people who are posting in ISN's Sclero Forums suddenly become that much closer when we start posting too. I am glad you have found us, and hope that you will find as much support here as I have. Please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] if you need assistance.
Carrie Maddoux: ISN Sclero Forums Director. Carrie has been promoted from ISN Sclero Forums Manager to ISN Sclero Forums Director. Carrie, also known as Jefa, has been an active member of the ISN Forums since its beginning in October 2006 and has been Manager since May 2007. In this new position, she will oversee the management, development and training for Sclero Forums, Chats, Blogs and Videos. Posted 03-04-09. (Also see Sclero Forums)
Carrie Maddoux: ISN Sclero Forums Manager. Carrie has been promoted from Support Specialist to Manager for the ISN Sclero Forums. Carrie, also known as Jefa, has been an active member of the ISN Forums since its beginning in October 2006. We thank her for her desire to contribute even more support to this family of friends. Posted 05-16-07 (Also see Sclero Forums)
Carrie Maddoux: ISN Support Specialist. The real people who are posting in ISN's Sclero Forums suddenly become that much closer when we start posting too. I am glad you have found us, and hope that you will find as much support here as I have. I am a retired electronics production manager/manufacturing engineer living near Glasgow, Scotland with my husband, Jim, and our whitefaced cockatiel, Poirot. We both write novels, short stories and poetry and before I became ill, I edited two literary journals. Posted 05-07-07. (Also see Sclero Forums)
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