Author Topic: Hi! I'm Cheryl, chat room cohost on Thurs. night.  (Read 2617 times)

Cheryl

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Hi! I'm Cheryl, chat room cohost on Thurs. night.
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:08:56 PM »
I retired in 2009 after teaching for 20 years. My three grown children have all become parents in the last few years, so that makes me grandmother to 8 little ones. They are my favorite pastime. I also enjoy reading, using the computer, growing flowers, traveling with my husband, and being friends with my adult children. 

My Sjogren's story begins in my childhood, when my mother was diagnosed with it. I was somewhat aware that she suffered from dryness, fatigue, and painful joints, but she appeared to be fine. Her lack of energy struck me as laziness. As time passed by, I came to see that she had some serious issues. By my late twenties, when my own eyes became dry, I began to sympathize for the first time.

In the meantime, my husband and I had our family. My health was no big deal; I treated the dry eyes and dealt with some joint pain. I figured that I had Sjogren's but was determined that it wouldn't rule my life. For several years, I was a fulltime mom, den mother, Girl Scout leader, room mother, and PTA worker. I then started my teaching career. I was rarely sick but was tired a lot.

Through the years, my family and I watched powerlessly as my mother weakened, lost her hair and teeth, and was treated with less than dignity by a couple of doctors who belittled her condition. (Her family physician learned about the disease along with her, however, and sought ways to help.) Her body systems were eventually affected, and there were terminal organ failures.

In 1999, I had an episode of acute pain which led to gall bladder removal. Before my GP sent me to the surgeon, he also detected a mass in my abdomen. Biopsies confirmed that I had Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I was successfully treated with chemotherapy followed by Rituxan. The lymphoma has been in remission since 2000.

It's a little ironic that I was never officially diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome until after the lymphoma was found. (My GP treated me with kid gloves following the cancer, ordering an ANA test because I had some swollen joints. He then referred me to a rheumatologist.) At my first appointment with the rheumatologist, I told him that I probably had Sjogren's Syndrome. He raised his eyebrows at my self-diagnosis, did the blood work, and agreed with it.

My recent health history includes a two year stint with Grave's Disease, which is now in remission. Ongoing issues include: GERD and other digestive troubles, overall dryness, eye pain and light sensitivity, headaches and occular migraines, TMJ, osteoarthritis, sleep problems, fatigue, costochondritis, and Fibromyalgia.  (I have had two vitreous detachments, and I have a cornea condition called Fuch's Dystrophy - both unrelated to Sjogren's.) I am learning to deal with food intolerances: Dairy and Gluten, soy and chocolate, so far.

Retirement has allowed me to live with less stress. (My body thanks me frequently for the flexibility in my schedule and the possibility of naps.) I am grateful that Sjogren's is more recognized and respected as an autoimmune disorder than was the case just a few decades ago. Treatment options are increasing with that awareness. We are blessed.

I have found Sjogren's World to be a community of caring people who can relate because all of our stories overlap in some way. Your posts are often therapeutic for me, and I hope to be helpful to you, too. For live interaction, join the other hosts and me in the Sjogren's World chat room.

 Cheryl

« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 07:27:00 PM by Cheryl »
Chat co-host on Thursdays at 8:00 Eastern time