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Melissa M: Morphea

I even met my husband while I was wearing a bikini.

MelissaI've had morphea since I was about seven or eight, and I am now twenty-nine. It's over the whole front of my stomach and sides, and patches about as big as my hand on each shin and forearm, and a few sprinkled here and there.

I remember having a biopsy and being given some cream to try but not much else. My parents had a natural healer come to our house and had me lie on the floor and have healing crystals put on my body. It was a weird thing for my family to have done. Either way, nothing helped, nothing made them go away. So I lived with them.

Grade 5 I wore my jumper most of the summer so no one would question me about them. By the time I got to high school I decided they were part of me and I wasn't going to hide them. If anyone asked I told them that it was a skin disease and no one asked past that. I'd just smile and that was that.

At sixteen I got my first tattoo and decided tattoos would be a good way to deter eyes from spots so I got my whole front covered with them, and yes, it did help. People in the pub would catch a look at one peeping out of clothes and want to see my tattoos and I would gladly show them, essentially showing my spots. I would even wear bikinis out swimming. I even met my husband while I was wearing a bikini.

The spots are all brown and had never changed and that's all I thought they ever were. So three years ago when I got a white patch about 10cm oval on my bum cheek, I didnt know what it was, and I couldn't actually see it so I had to rely on my hubby telling me what it looked like. In an attempt to get rid of it I tried three different types of creams on it and even mixed creams together. Nothing worked. So I put it to the back of my mind.

When I got pregnant two years ago I got another small white spot on my tummy. I asked every doctor I saw and no one knew what it was. By the end of the pregnancy I had maybe three white shiny spots. In the days after I had my second son while in the maternity ward I asked another doctor what the spot was and he said, "If it's what I think it is you need to see a skin specialist ASAP," and got me a referral. But the spots were still nothing too drastic.

I saw the specialist who took another biopsy and said, "It's morphea, theres nothing you can do. See you later." So I was back to being all like, "Oh well, more spots." Not long later I noticed a red lump on my breast that wasnt going away. I had an ultrasound on it, and they said it was nothing. It has now turned into a white shiny spot. After reading all these stories recently I looked in the mirror and counted. I now have 41 brand new white shiny spots. They are all on top of the brown ones I already had. The one on my arm is the worst, it has domed inwards so I dont know if it is still plain old morphea or something else now. I really can't figure it out because there are so many kinds of it. I really look a fright, with four-tone skin colour (normal, brown spots, the white of the spots and the red ring around those) plus all the stretch marks from pregnancy and the tattoos. I'm just lucky Im already married and am past caring about being stunning.

I saw somewhere to upload photos, when I get some I will upload them. The reason I ended up here, is because for the past month I have been okay, but the seven months previous to that I had had very bad "joint" pain. I say "joint" because its not actually the actual joint that hurts, just near it. The doctor said it was probably arthritis, but I also have Crohn's disease and was convinced it was from that. So I went to that specialist and he said it isn't Crohn's arthritis. I went back to my GP who did some blood tests and said it looks more like an autoimmune disease and the next stop for me is the rheumatologist. So I have that appointment in two weeks time and hopefully I will now understand what they are telling me! I promise to update this after I have the appointment.

Webmaster's Note: It's possible that the new white patches on top of the old brown patches might indicate late stage morphea, where it is atrophying. Morphea is an autoimmune disorder so antibodies are commonly found in morphea patients. Occasionally one or two symptoms outside of just skin involvement may occur. Sometimes plaques burrow deeper into the underlying tissues, causing pain and sometimes even disability. There are improved treatment options for morphea now, however they are generally most effective in preventing the spread of morphea rather than clearing up existing damage.

To Contact the Author

Melissa M.
Email: [email protected]
Story posted 02-24-11 SLE
Photo added 03-04-11 SLE
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