My name is Marion, and I am telling this story about my friend, Bridget. Bridget was born with a hip problem and over many years, it finally crumbled away. Bridget was diagnosed about seven years ago with systemic scleroderma with signs of stiffness in parts of her body and taut skin, mainly on her hands, arms and face. All of this didn't seem fair to be happening to someone who had already gone through years of trauma.
Being around Bridget on a regular basis, you never really noticed how quickly this disease was taking affect, until one day, we were looking at photos taken just a couple of years ago. She was nearly double her size but because she always felt so cold she wore layers and layers of clothes, which masked just how much weight she had actually lost.
Doctors have told Bridget that she will have a short life expectancy. She has accepted this but still wanted to hear from, or meet other people in our area who have this disease. She even had her story put in our local paper to try to get some sort of response.
Despite everything Bridget has gone through she had a baby four years ago, a beautiful little girl weighing 2lb 4oz. Bridget has carers to help with tasks that she can't manage to do herself in her everyday life but she is so independent. I have watched her get annoyed with herself because she hasn't been able to do something but even more annoyed when someone else has gone to do it for her.
Taking a deep breath and a few minutes to think she, nine times out of ten, comes up with a way of getting around the problem so that she can manage to do the task in hand herself.
I would like to find someone mainly in our area who has had any experience with this disease to contact us as it will really make her feel that she is not alone. Bridget is one in a million not because of her illness but for the way she will listen about everyone else's little ailments and never turns them away she listens to everyone's problems and is always there to comfort others when they are down.
I would just like to say, thank you, Bridget, for being you!
New email address needed 08-06-09 SLE
Old Email Prefix: garethtopping20
Story edited 01-06-08 JTD
Story posted 01-17-08 SLE
ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Thompson Devlin
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