I first started having symptoms when I was fifteen years old. My mother took me to the doctor and that is where I learned that I had Raynaud's. I did pretty well for the rest of my teenage years just having problems in the winter and with really cold items.
I got married when I was twenty-one and really felt good. The next year in July I started not feeling well. I went to see my rheumatologist and that was when I was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis. I was pretty sick for a couple of years.
At around the age of twenty-five, I decided I wanted a baby. Doctors warned me about the risks and said that was not the greatest idea because I was not in remission and was on a chemo drug which I had to stop first for three months. I decided to do it anyway knowing in my heart it was going to be okay. I never doubted having a baby once. I got pregnant right away. I had to have a lot of ultrasounds and stress tests, but it was worth it. I had a wonderful beautiful healthy little girl who is the light of my life.
I am twenty-nine now and my daughter is almost three years old. I work full time as an office manager for a gastroenterologist and keep up with a very busy life. I still have the disease and deal with it daily. I have realized some things, though. I thought my life was ending and that I would never have that little girl I always wanted. I was wrong. I did make it through somehow.
I realized I was a strong woman and that even though I had been given this horrible disease, I still had many blessings in my life. I want to let people know that we can be okay if we get diagnosed with scleroderma and with more awareness and research we are closer every day to finding a cure.
Do not give up on yourself and do not give in. Fight it and take care of yourself because you are a blessing to the world!
Email: [email protected]
Story edited 05-27-06 JTD
Story posted 08-03-06 SLE
ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin
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