My Skin Is Cured From Scleroderma - Nicola Whitehill
Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease.
|'My Skin Is Cured From Scleroderma' 30.11.16|
Almost 18 years to the day, from having first attended the Scleroderma Unit at The Royal Free Hospital in London, I am exhilarated to have been told on 30th November 2016, by the world scleroderma expert, Prof Chris Denton, that ‘your skin is now cured from scleroderma’.
My body had turned to stone, literally.
This was accompanied by swollen joints and weak muscles, making any physical exertion, including standing, a huge feat.
My fingers and toes were constantly blue with a minimum of 4 digital ulcers at any one time.
Along with a level of tiredness that I had never experienced before (even after a week holidaying in Ibiza post A-levels, did not make the slightest level of comparison).
Following extensive and numerous medical tests, the good news was that minimal internal organ involvement was evident.
However, the progression and aggressiveness of the fibrosis and lack of elasticity of my skin and connective tissue placed me in the ‘diffuse systemic sclerosis critical patient’ list.
An urgent medical treatment plan was drawn up with numerous iv cyclophosphamide infusions scheduled, which if ineffective, I would have a stem cell transplant.
This feeling was comforted by the knowledge that, I was now under the medical expertise of global leaders in their field, whose dedication and commitment to improving the scleroderma patient landscape, invoked huge hope in me, that a cure would be discovered within my lifetime.
And most of all, they would ‘pull out all of the stops’ to do everything they could to help me, and of extreme importance to me, help me to realise my childhood dream to be a barrister.
At the same time I was taking mycophenolate mofetil (mmf) 2g / day.
By easter, my skin symptoms gradually eased, taking me out of the stem cell transplant list.
By the end of June, I was back on my sofa, experiencing a relapse with my symptoms, mainly lethargy, intense musculo-skeletal pain (tin man) and neuralgic pain.
Six months later, I relocated to my birth town of Southport, with the management of my symptoms to a tolerable level, now taking over as my full time job.
Due to my Raynaud’s sensitivity, I have found that the prevention of attacks is far less painful, than having an episode.
This makes for a ‘home bird’ all year round.
Again, words are difficult when trying to describe a Raynaud’s attack.
‘Slamming your hand in the car door’, I would suggest, is an acceptable description, however, the pain can not be articulated.
I do not want to appear to be morbid, just honest, about my reality at that time.
I am also extremely grateful to my local medical team here in Southport, Dr Sykes and the rheumatology team, as well as, Dr Bontea and the dermatology team at Ormskirk hospital, and of course my dentist, Andrew Booth and hygienist Louise.
I have stabalised my gastro-intestinal symptoms by altering my diet and including daily smoothies and fresh juices for maximum super food nutrition.
However, this combination of my current unmet clinical needs, most certainly shows that scleroderma is more than skin deep, causing devastation to the vascular and soft tissue / connective tissue processes along the way.
Click here, to view my article 'Living the dream, being your own Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease Advocate'.
An edited version of this article was published here, in my Column with Scleroderma News.
Planning for the Future, Click here
Rare Disease Day 2020:
Raise awareness and donate to medical research, order your #SclerodermaFreeWorld #RaynaudsFreeWorld tshirt here
Rare Disease Day 2019: Leaving a Legacy Gift, Click here
Rare Disease Day 2019: 11am 97.4RockFM headlines, NO CURE, Click here
2017 Rare Disease Day Flashback
provides the brightest light,
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To read about medical research at the scleroderma unit, Click here
If we only had more RESEARCH investment for Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease, Click here
The Importance of Medical Research and Awareness to the Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease patient, Click here
2018 Scleroderma Awareness Raising and Medical Research, Click here
Unmet Medical Needs, Click here
Calcinosis Video, Click here
The scleroderma tooth fairy, Click here
Skin Cancer and scleroderma, Click here
|Prof Chris Denton and I, Sept 2017|
|Chat Magazine May 2019|
|James Carver, myself, Prof Chris Denton|
I am immensely grateful to James Carver, former MEP, for organizing this event in memory of his late wife Carmen, who sadly passed from Scleroderma.
|The global Raynaud's trailblazer - Dr Howell and I, Sept 2017|
#SclerodermaFreeWorld #RaynaudsFreeWorld #Research
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