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Martina: Linear Morphea


Evening Sea by Sherrill Knaggs, ISN Artist My name is Martina and I am twenty-four years old. I was diagnosed with linear morphea in September. I have to say it was a relief to get a diagnosis as I had not been feeling well since a year previous to that.

It began with general joint pain and stiffness. I went to my doctor in October and he suggested that it may be the start of rheumatoid arthritis. Although it frightened me a little, as I have always been very active, I knew it was not the end of the world.

By January, I was still experiencing pain and my doctor said that it would be best if I get back to football training and get as fit as possible. (I think it was to fight it off.) I was happy to do this, but after four sessions I knew I could not continue as the pain was unbearable. I decided that it must be the cold that was affecting me. I decided to stop my training until the summer.

However, in February, I discovered a discoloration on my right arm just above my wrist. I thought it was the result of a steam burn and put a cream on it, but it did not seem to be going away. My mother saw me putting it on one day and asked why. I told her and she questioned whether it was a steam burn or perhaps something else. (Call it mother's intuition, I guess.) I convinced her that it could not be anything else.

In April, as I was getting ready to go to a party, I discovered that there were patches of discoloration stretching up my arm to my shoulder. I was back at my doctor that week and it baffled him. He referred me to a rheumatologist.

In August, I was brought in for tests. After a series of tests and a skin biopsy I was diagnosed with linear morphea. At this stage my dermatologist found a patch on my side which I had had since I was nine or ten. I always been led to believe that it was dermatitis.

I have been on methotrexate since September and I am doing fine. I can see changes on my arm, but it has not straightened yet. However, I know I am lucky that I can carry on as I am for now. I just do not know much about morphea.

I was delighted to find this web site as I can identify with other stories and symptoms. I was led to believe that the pains I had had nothing to do with the morphea, but I have learned from other stories that this pain is quite common.

I have some questions though, and would be grateful for answers.

Will morphea go away completely or does it just lie dormant for awhile? Does it drain your energy? What causes the pain and stiffness in the joints?

To Contact the Author

Email: [email protected]
Story edited 03-29-05
Story posted 03-29-05 SLE
Email address added 03-31-05 SLE

ISN Senior Artist: Sherrill Knaggs
Story Editor: Judith Devlin
Morphea Stories
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Types of Scleroderma
PDF Brochure: 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!

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