It really started to go bad for me in November of 1999. I work on rural mail delivery in Quebec, Canada, and our winters can be quite cold. I had always had cold feet and hands, but this particular winter seemed to have been a lot harder. My hands were swollen all the time and very painful when cold.
By February of 2000, I had to stop working and my family doctor sent me to a rheumatologist in March. By then my right hand was hard as rock. When he told me I had scleroderma, I had no idea what it was. Through family, friends, and the Internet, I came to learn all about it.
Not knowing which type of scleroderma I had was a little scary. From my symptoms, I figured out that it was either CREST Scleroderma or diffuse scleroderma. Because of our hospital's pressure tactics, the test I needed to confirm what type of scleroderma I had could not be done.
In September, my test was finally done and came out negative. In the meantime, I have been going to a skin specialist for treatments with natural products, and it has been working great. In the past two months, I have gone from not being able to hold a knife to peeling potatoes. I have been back at work since April, but I am not sure for how long since winter is just around the corner.
Compared to last year, my life has made a complete turnaround because of the fine treatments I have been getting. I am doing extremely well even though it is the coldest time of the year. I even stopped some of my medication and have cut down on the number of treatments I receive.
For those of you who see no hope ahead, this is good news! Chin up!
Old Email Prefix:Firemac
New email address needed 07-18-06 SLE
Story posted 9-28-2000
Email address updated 1-30-02
Story edited VH1: JTD 8-9-03
Story Artist: Shelley Ensz
Story Editor V1: Judith Devlin
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