I am twenty three years old and was diagnosed with morphea in high school at the age of probably about fifteen. The details are foggy because I tried to ignore it and act like nothing was really wrong. I had a patch on my leg, big deal. Truth is, it did bother me and it still affects me.
My mother has an autoimmune disease and my brother and I both have autoimmune diseases now, granted they are not the same kind.
It started out with a white patch on my left thigh. The skin felt hard and kind of waxy looking. It slowly grew larger but through time the skin did not feel so hard. I remember it itching really bad at times but that has stopped as well. Now it is a really dark color. It covers my left thigh and it creeps up to my hip. I have also had some brown spots appear on the back of both of my legs and thighs, but the skin is not hard.
It is hard being a young woman and having to always wear jeans while living in a beach town. But I try really hard to not let people see that it actually does bother me. I grew up on a swimming team and I became a lifeguard at the age of eighteen and did that for three years. It did not overcome my insecurities but it helped to be able to do the things I love and no one bugged me about it. I really wish I could lay out at the pool and not worry about people staring at my leg. I envy the girls around me sometimes and hope they know how lucky they are. But I remind myself not to take anything for granted and I am thankful I do not have any life threatening illness.
Since this disease has so many questions unanswered, I am afraid of it spreading to areas that I cannot cover up or if I could have been misdiagnosed. I am also afraid of passing it along to my babies, if I am lucky to have some.
I am mostly speaking out to young women who feel they will never be loved because of this disease. My parents have been a big support and my daddy tells me all the time that a man will fall in love with me for me and my skin will not even be a factor. I hope someone in your life tells you the same!
Recently, I have been having trouble with my breathing at night and I have been having sharp shooting pains in my right arm and it scares me. I do not know if it is because of this disease or if it is just stress related.
Email: [email protected]
Story edited 08-28-06 JTD
Story posted 10-23-06 SLE
ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin
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