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Anna B: Morphea

I fought cervical cancer and won!

Pink Epiphylliums for Anna by Sherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist My morphea started as bruise-like marks on the backs of my legs about three years ago, after I had just fought cervical cancer and won!

At first my family and I thought that they were only bruises and that I might be diabetic. When I went to the doctor she thought it might be morphea, but test results showed something else. After a year wait to see a skin doctor, I was finally told that it was morphea. I was also told at that time that there was no known cure or treatment, but I was put on steroid ointment, which burned me so bad when it was put on.

At my next visit my doctor informed me that I could not be in extreme cold climates. This broke my heart. I grew up in central New York and moved to Alabama to work. I can never again see a white Christmas with my family that still lives in New York. I can't go sledding with my son, or have a snowball fight with him, or even build a snowman. But I will be alive for him and that means more!

My marks cover most of the backs of my legs and are under my left arm, on both breasts, on my left foot and shoulder. When people ask me what the marks are I explain to them that I have morphea and I tell them what I know. I have had people ask if my husband beats me, or if I am accident prone. More explanations.

I pray and live each day to it's fullest to get me through and hope that as I spread understanding of morphea to the people around me, it will make it easier for the next person they may encounter who has morphea.

With my faith, I know that if I can beat cancer, I can beat this too!


Unfortunately, there is widespread confusion about the various types of scleroderma, even among doctors. Morphea is a "localized" type of scleroderma that affects only the skin, and not the internal organs. It does not reduce a person's life expectancy nor lead to more serious illness. Morphea also does not cause Raynaud's, which is an adverse reaction to cold that accompanies the "systemic" types of scleroderma.

Usually, morphea will begin fading within five years, even without treatment. There are also some morphea treatments now. So the good news is that the future is very bright for Anna, much brighter than she was led to believe, and she can now enjoy snowball fights and visiting her family without worry of the cold anymore. She really can beat this, too!

To Contact the Author

Email: [email protected]
Story posted 12-3-02
Webmaster's Note added 12-3-02

ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Devlin
Cancer and Scleroderma
Causes of Scleroderma
Morphea Scleroderma
Types of Scleroderma

ISN Artist: Sherrill Knaggs (In Loving Memory)

Sherrill KnaggsSherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist, created the digital photo to illustrate the story on this page. Sherrill lived in New Zealand. Her story was featured in ISN's book, Voices of Scleroderma Volume 2.

ISN Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin

Photo of JudithJudith Thompson Devlin is the ISN Story Editor for this story. She is also lead editor of the ISN's wonderful Voices of Scleroderma book series!

Go to Annabella: Mother of Daughter with Linear/Morphea Scleroderma

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