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"My Story"

Hi!

My name is Lois Anderson aka ( Sweet Pea ). I am from South Dakota...
beautiful Rapid City.Actually Black Hawk but no one knows where that
is! LOL! Okay..I am at the big 60...I have 4 brothers and 5 sisters.
Both my parents are now in heaven. I am # 7 in the clan! Growing up
as a child I was always fatigued and remember well all the days I
would need a nap come 3 o'clock. Yet as a teenager I was very active
in sports...dancing..ect.

Now I have 4 sons and 8 grandchildren. The youngest Brehanna born
on May 23rd 2001. WHAT A JOY!! Around 1994 I began to notice brown
spots on my fingers... I had never thought too much about them.
My Pap Smears were not normal so after many visits,I finally had
a Hysterectomy. I felt that would take care of the problem. I
I was DEAD wrong! To this day they are not normal and I
I contribute that to the change in my tissues caused by the SD.
I exercise and walk each day but started noticing my legs
becoming weak and when I did walk a "lot" I got even more
fatigued. Then out of no where the tips of my fingers became very
sensitive and I dropped things. I even had trouble walking through
a doorway. My skin became very tight and my fingers would swell.
Cuts would take ages to heal up. I have terrific headaches very
frequent and now I have "Brain Fog" so I have forgotten a lot
of things.

Now it is winter of 1998 my hands started to turn purple...white...
and blue in the cold and be VERY painful! I still thought to myself
that this was crazy. Even my ears hurt when I would lay down to sleep
and my elbows hurt to move them. Numbness and tingling then set in and
and kept me awake all night. Then I developed an ulcer on my finger.
I just could not figure this one out at all!
I thought to myself "No...I am not crazy" I can see it! But no one
seemed to think anything about it. So...in January 2000 I decided
to go South to Arizona and rest and do some sight seeing. But...
to put it quite bluntly all HELL broke loose! No...it's not my
imagination anymore! I could not even swallow for about 3 days.

My arms...face...and back are now stiff as a board. Literally cups
of water are in my mouth that I needed to get out. I could not get
a toothbrush in my mouth to clean my teeth. Purple rings with white
centers are on my legs. I was having horrible chills and vomiting.
My whole body ached. God...I cannot walk now my feet wont come up on
their own. Something just keeps me from lifting them. I then got angry
and picked a DR. out of the phone book who happened to be a
Dermotologist. The very first thing that he said was you have CREST...
All five of them. Meaning that I had the "C" the "R" the "E" the "S"
and the "T". Then he said that I needed to get home to see a
Rheumatologist. So I saw her on April 15th 2000. She said that I had
Systemic SD...Raynauds...Crest...MCTD...and some Arthritis. What else...
I can't remember.

I then requested an ANA and to my disbelief she was right. She told me
that I would have to take an antibiotic( Miocyclin )the rest of my life.
Also Celebrex for pain and that I must keep warm. She then said that I
might live for 6 months but will definately die of Renal Failure!
WOW!! What a nasty blow to the head! Of course I cried my heart out.
She also prescribed Celexa and Procardia. I guess the hardest part
for me was not having the answers that I wanted or the knowledge of
what was really taking place after I started to her. I just thought
that I was dying. After three days of thinking this I started slowly
getting my strength back but it really took a full year to begin the
road to recovery.

Actually I am very lucky and I can do most things today with ease.
I started to search the web and that has helped me tremendously.
I try real hard to forget that I even have such a disease. I want
to live without it and pretend that it does not even exist. Yet at
the same time I am very careful not to go out in the sun or the cold
and I always keep my guard up aware of anything new that shows up or
any strange symptoms. I am happy that I am not crazy after all and
that I finally got diagnosed when I did. I do not worry about dying
or getting worse. I worry more about how I can exercise...eat right...
live right...enjoy life...do things...make things...keep my children
happy...live for my grandchildren and above all Stay closer to God.

It's been a hard year for me learning the ups and downs of this disease.
But I think I have it all figured out. But...who knows what will happen
tomorrow? All I know is that Antibiotic Therapy has worked wonders for
me and I hope and pray that it will continue to do that in the future. I
do have some lung involvement but at this point and time ...not too
severe. I also know that changing to a higher altitude can be very
dangerous. My Tiger Stripes are nearly gone on my back...but the
pigmentation is awful. I'm just not use to being so dark-dark brown.
I do not appreciate the changes that it has made in my facial
expressions either...yet I must accept what I cannot change.
My sorrow goes out to those in more pain...has more disfiguration
and all the heartaches of those that are younger than I am.
Life deals many hands a lot of odd numbers so I say if the deck
is stacked ...so what? To "LIVE" is what we must all do! Let's make
the most of it! Death will eventually come to all of us.


This story was written on August 12th, 2001.

September 12th,2002

A year has passed quickly and it is time for an update.
It's been a terrific year. My fatique is much better.
Although I am still on Miocyclin...my Dr. reduced my
dosage to 3 days a week instead of 7. The only other
medicine that I am taking is Verelan and 1800 mg. of
Calcium Citrate a day. A bone scan showed deterioration in
my hips. Otherwise I continue to take my Multi-Vitamin...
and Fish Oil Concentrate. I think this helps my skin from
being dry. I also drink Aloe Vera Juice ( 1 tsp. in juice ).
That keeps me from getting an upset stomach. When I do not
eat the right foods...I take Prilosec. I just learned from my
Rheumy that Chocolate is a bad choice of food for SD People.


For dry skin I use Playtex Baby Magic soothing creamy baby oil
W/Natural Aloe and Vitamin E. It seems to have helped with the
itching also. I am blessed not to be bothered with thick skull
headaches anymore. They seem to have passed after about a year
with having them every day. My new Hobby now is lifting 3lbs
of hand weights every day for 10 minutes and walking our newcomer
"Checo" a Yellow Lab. Wishing you all happiness and good health
in the year to come!


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