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
Canadian Support Groups
Voices of Scleroderma Volume 1
The story on this page is featured in the top-notch Voices of Scleroderma Volume 1 which features articles by top scleroderma experts, including Dr. Joseph Korn, as well as 100 true patient and caregiver stories from this website! The book delivers excellent information and support for scleroderma patients and caregivers. It's a great way to inform family and friends about scleroderma, too!
SCLERO.ORG is the world leader for trustworthy research, support, education and awareness for scleroderma and related illnesses, such as pulmonary hypertension. We are a service of the nonprofit International Scleroderma Network (ISN), which is a 501(c)(3) U.S.-based public charitable foundation, established in 2002. Meet Our Team, or Volunteer. Donations may also be mailed to: