It happened again! I woke up with unusual bruises with unknown causes. I used to think that I might have hit something without being aware but look at the location of these random bruises. I call these bruises “not real bruises” because I did not do anything to get them. Is it the scleroderma? Is it something else? I simply love having to explain the random bruises on my arms that appear as if someone has abused me. The ones on my legs are also a joy as my friends inquire, “what on Earth have you done?”
My systemic scleroderma diagnosis was obtained via a Scl-70 blood test, results from a pulmonary function test, and esophageal involvement. Not being able to swallow or eat with your friends due to the possible embarrassment of choking stinks. I had my esophagus dilated last year to help with the dysphagia. Unfortunately, the problem returned after 2 months but the swallowing difficulties have been a lot less frequent and severe. I do not yet have pain, as most systemic scleroderma patients, and contribute that fact to my running. I have to believe that there is something that I am doing that is helping my condition. I am also not yet on any medications except for high blood pressure medication which is odd since I exercise. For my entire adult life, my blood pressure has always been almost too low. Then, last year, my blood pressure was high. I do nap WAY more than normal but that is my little secret too.
Systemic Scleroderma Facts of the Day:
There are two forms of scleroderma localized and systemic. The localized (limited) form affects the skin of only the face, hands, and feet. The systemic (diffuse) form involves the skin of the face, hands, and feet and also progresses to the kidney, heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Death is most often caused by lung, heart, and kidney involvement. Systemic scleroderma ranges from 50 to 300 cases per 1 million people yet I have this type of scleroderma. I am scared but pretend well around others.
My friends continue to invite me to run with them and pretend along with me that there is nothing wrong. Of course, I have to wear long sleeves when it is just a tad cold so there is that random fact. We ran 6 miles this beautiful morning and regardless what my pulmonary function test revealed, I am able to keep up with my younger running friends just fine…..for now. I am able to physically complete my job as a physical therapist and run around the hospital without difficulty. My children make me smile every day. My husband loves me.