Hello! My name is Maria. I am fifty. I was born in a country, Ukraine, where winter was very cold. I was a healthy child. I liked snow and frost. I ran on snow, I rode on sleds and I made yeti (snowmen). I did not freeze and I was very happy.
What is happening with my hands now? They do not endure any cold. The color of my hands varies from white to dark blue. I cannot move my fingers well. It began fifteen years ago. The doctor says it is Raynaud's disease.
When my struggle began, I accepted a lot of medicine such as Trental and Halidorum, but the illness progressed. Dark stains and ulcers formed on my fingers.
I live in a small town and in a poor country. My doctors have no computers or medical magazines. I went to a medical center to a doctor of rheumatic diseases. She has helped me very much. She says it is scleroderma. I accepted the medicines Heparin, Prostaglandin, dexamethasone and Depen (penicillamine). The wounds on my fingers have disappeared, but other symptoms have appeared. I have grown very thin, so my clothes have become too large for me. I have lost 11 kilograms (25 pounds) during the last two years. My friends ask me how I manage to have such a good figure? They do not know that I was having injections of anabolic steroids.
My muscles have become so thin that I cannot sit on a rigid chair. I have put soft pillows on all the chairs in my room. Now I compete with my cat (who is faster) as to who will occupy a soft chair first.
I decided to search for a treatment, and I found the SCLERO.ORG web site with a computer. But this created a new problem for me, as the web site was only in English! What should I do? I studied English many years ago, so I decided not to despair. I am unable to read the text from the screen, so I printed it out on paper. Then I took a big dictionary and I slowly began to translate the text.
I say many thanks to Shelley Ensz and to everyone else who has made this web site. I have begun to learn a lot of new things. I want to cure my illness. I ask all doctors to help me! I shall wait for your advice!
I am a teacher, so I work at school. I feel numbness in my hands and I cannot hold a piece of chalk in my hand. I try to hide my ill hands from my pupils. My husband advises me to remain at home, but I want to go to work. When I come onto the school courtyard, the pupils run to me and cry to me, "Good morning!" Then I have no time to think about illness. I smile to them and I answer, "Good morning!" It is my salvation.
I want to have friends with the same illness as me.
New email address needed 11-03-06 SLE
Old Email Prefix: teplin
Story edited 10-23-02
Story posted 10-26-02
Russian Version posted 3-17-03
The Ukraine is in Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Poland and Russia.
Animated cat graphics this page are from the former Cartooncottage.com site, for noncommercial use only.
Maria: Russian Version
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