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Jackie J.: Localized Scleroderma (Morphea)

When it began to spread, I thought I had better find out what it was.

Sunrise Rose by Sherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist I was diagnosed with localized scleroderma (morphea) five years ago at the age of twenty-four. Initially I noticed a dark patch on my left forearm and the front of my left thigh. I did not think too much of it at first and thought it would just go away.

When it began to spread, I thought I had better find out what it was. It is only on the left side of my body covering my left arm especially the bicep and shoulder, my rib cagen front and back of the left side of my body, and my left thigh and left calf running all the way from the knee to the top of my left foot. I have no marks whatsoever on the right side of my body, but I have just recently developed a painful finger ulcer on my right hand. My left hand and left toes lock up on me from time to time along with my calf, and once in awhile my right hand will lock up, too.

From what I have read, finger ulcers are accompanied with bad blood circulation and blue or cold fingers. I do not have these symptoms. Just the ulcer. I have had problems swallowing food. I wonder if I have the esophageal problems that sometimes come with the disease.
Webmaster's Note:
Difficulty swallowing is most often associated with systemic scleroderma, not morphea. However, about 25% of people with morphea experience one or two symptoms outside of the skin involvement. (Also see Conditions Associated with Morphea))

I have read where other people's scleroderma patches look like bruises and are hard or shiny. Mine look just like burn scars. The areas are just a little darker than my normal skin tone and they are covered with small white dots. I have not read of anyone else describing their areas of morphea this way and wondered if they describe a specific type of scleroderma. The areas are a little harder than the rest of my skin but not much. They do itch from time to time, but not often.

I do not consider the disease to be a painful one or one that hinders me from living life as normal. The only real drawback I have experienced is constant fatigue. I really am getting tired of being tired. I have four children that I home school and the fatigue can get very frustrating for me, especially when there are so many things I want and need to do but just do not have the energy to do.

For anyone who is looking for encouragement and advice for struggling with the same ailments, I would say that my approach is to focus on being at peace with myself and everyone around me. I know a lot of my symptoms worsen and become inflamed with stress and tension. Also, I consider nutrients in my diet. I eat foods in their natural state as best I can and avoid rich processed foods. I get my sleep every night. I get lots of fresh air and sunlight. I drink at least eight glasses of water everyday, and exercise daily. I also pray. I avoid prescription drugs, when I can.

The cure may not be discovered in our lifetime but we can still live a happy, fulfilling, active life. Bless you.

To Contact the Author

Jackie J.
New email address needed 08-06-09 SLE
Old Email Prefix: jjason
Story edited 08-15-06 JTD
Story posted 08-25-06 SLE

ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin
Conditions Associated with Morphea
Dysphagia (Difficulty Swallowing)
Localized Scleroderma: Morphea
Morphea Stories
Types of Scleroderma
What is 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 Jackie S: Overlap Syndrome

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