A few days ago my mother was sick and I decided to take her to a doctor. She had hypertension arteritis and bronchitis. The internal disease doctor checked her and he noticed that the skin on the upper part of her arms is thick. He assumed that it is scleroderma. He recommended another doctor here in Kosovo who is specialized in that profile. I went with my mother to see that doctor and he stated that she had scleroderma but without any analyses or further consultation. My mother has always had thick skin since I can remember.
I asked him, "Why do you think that this is scleroderma?" He was not very friendly and he said, as usually the doctors in Kosovo, do, "This is it." He proceeded with the following diagnosis: Diffuse Progressive Systemic Sclerosis.
He recommended the following medicines: four methotrexate tablets at once for a week, as well as Folic Acid tablets and prednisolone.
I fully disagree with him, because the color of the skin of my mother has not changed. She is feeling okay and she does not feel any pain. She does not have any deformation in the face or body in general. She can swallow without any problem. I also disagreed with him because he made that conclusion without taking blood tests. He then recommended that she take the following blood tests: Immunoglobulines, C3 and C4, and sedimentation. He also ordered a spyromethry of the esophagus passage (esophageal manometry.)
I did my best to have these tests done for my mother even though these tests are very expensive here in Kosovo, and she had those analyses. The analyses were perfect in the level of normal. When we went the second time for the consultation with the same doctor, we showed him the analyses and he saw that the analyses were all right, but he never changed the diagnosis.
I went with my mother to another doctor some one thousand miles away and this doctor said, "No. I fully disagree with the other one because this is not scleroderma." He is an old experienced doctor and he said that he can recognize the patients with scleroderma when he sees them entering his clinic.
I also consulted some other doctors and none of them agreed with that diagnosis. Please help me and tell me what should I do. I will do my best to help my mother. She is the only person I have in this world. I hope to get a reply from you as soon as you get this message.
Email withheld by request.
Story posted 1-19-03
Story Artist: Ione Bridgman
Story Editor: Judith Devlin
Diffuse Progressive Systemic Sclerosis
ISN Artist Ione Bridgman created original artwork to illustrate this page. She is 90 years old, and lives in New Zealand. Her lovely paintings illustrate many of our pages and the covers of our Voices of Scleroderma Book Series.
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