I remember the day so well that this discovery began. One day when I was seven years old, my family and I went swimming in the local river. When we returned home my mother bathed and dried me. She noticed a reddish circle on my lower back. She was very worried and called the local doctor. The doctor came to the house, but was unsure about my spot so referred us to the local hospital.
After a few months, I was seen by many different doctors, many of them just wanting to take a look. Because I was very young I do not remember much about the time, but I know my parents were very worried.
There was a special doctor who was from New York, but living in our country at the time, and I remember seeing him. He diagnosed it as Morphea and showed me many pictures of different people with the same skin disorder. My mum is still convinced that the morphea had something to do with the river that I went swimming in.
As the years went by, the skin on my back hardened and turned a pale brownish color. It did grow quite a lot. It started about the size and shape of a fifty-cent coin and now covers most of my spine to the side of my back. Yet I have to say that I do not think it has grown for many years now. It has never caused me any problems at all. Now the affected area is darker than my other skin but it does not look too bad. It isn't too hard anymore either, it just feels a little drier.
The doctors that I saw at the time of diagnosis did not know very much at all, but they did advise my mother to keep my skin protected in the sun and to prevent sunburn, which I really never did do. I loved going to Cyprus with my partner and soaking up the sun, which actually made my Morphea blend in with the rest of my skin, as my pigment darkened. I was also told to only use baby oil on my skin; no perfumes, make-up, or bubble bath. Yet again, because I love fragrance lotions and have always taken bubble baths, I did not follow the doctor's instructions. When the doctor advised these things he said he was not sure, but it may help. But as you can see, I have led a completely normal life, although the worry is normal.
When I first got access to the Internet I could not help but look up Morphea as I never again saw a doctor. I was horrified by some of the stories, yet I have witnessed myself that Morphea definitely does not necessarily deprive you of anything. I hope that other sufferers are as fortunate as me with having so few symptoms. I have had this skin disorder for almost eighteen years and I just accept it as being part of my life.
If anybody would like to email me to ask questions or just to talk I would love to hear from you!
New email address needed 08-06-09 SLE
Old Email Prefix: Lynnemw
Story posted 1-25-03
Story Artist: Ione Bridgman
Story Editor: Judith R. Thompson
ISN Artist Ione Bridgman created original artwork to illustrate this page. She is 90 years old, and lives in New Zealand. Her lovely paintings illustrate many of our pages and the covers of our Voices of Scleroderma Book Series.
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