Faces of Hope
I am 63 years old. I was diagnosed when I was 33. “You are allergic to yourself, so to speak”, said my immunologist, Dr. Peter Small, at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital. I loved giving blood two or three times a year, but had to stop when the celiac disease and scleroderma disagnoses were given within two years of each other. There two auto-immune diseases are related, said Dr. Small.
In the beginning, scleroderma manifested itself on my legs, below the knees, where there is still, in my opinion, a map of the Americas. When it started, it looked like a bright red outline, then it faded with, among other things, home clay treatments, but the map of the Americas remains. Then came the numbness of the toes of one of my feet, then the other, for which I received deep massage treatments. For a few years, I had numerous crises when my fingers would turn as white as snow, my joints deep purple, and I immediately put them under hot water and relax to get back to normal. Stress, more than the cold, was the cause. Thankfully, these Raynaud’s phenomenon crises are now behind me. For the past two years, swelling and stiffness has started again in my legs and, more recently, I developed sporadic, intense itching under my chin, at the to of my chest, at the bottom of my back and the crook of my knees. This is where I am at now.
I watch my health and my well-being with conscious management of stress (I distance myself from stress sources in my life, it is essential), a healthy diet, daily exercise (crucial for me, i take walks and play croquet!), good natural care, including massages as often as possible, and a good medical follow-up.
Scleroderma Quebec helps me by being my homeport, providing attentive listening, good advice and the opportunity to share with other women and men fighting this mysterious condition.
Marie F. Bolduc