Faces of Sjogren's: Lucy's Journey
When I was diagnosed with Sjögren's, my first thought was…
"Relief!" I had been experiencing so much pain and fatigue, that I just knew something wasn't right. The doctor explained that the first signs of Sjögren's were dry mouth and dry eyes. "No big deal," I thought. What I didn't realize, was that dry mouth is caused from the absence of saliva. Saliva is important to the body for a number of reasons, including proper digestion.
That explains why I've had digestive problems all these years!
I knew my vision was not as sharp as it used to be….That's what happens when you get older, right? After all….I'm almost 50!
But after a thorough examination, the doctor said that my lacrimal glands were so inflamed, that I was not producing any tears at all causing severe dry patches on my eyes that were threatening my vision. I was shocked! I had been living with this illness for so long that these "first signs" never even fazed me. They were my "normal."
Luckily, through the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation and contacting their local support group, I was able to find an excellent doctor who is a leading authority on this disease. It took nearly one year of treatment before I could really notice any improvements, but now, a year and a half after my diagnosis, I feel better than I have in a long time.
I pay closer attention to my diet and I run an average of 30 miles per week. I still have days when I struggle with pain and fatigue, but knowing what causes my symptoms helps me to keep them under control. Discovering you have a chronic illness can be devastating, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude can make all the difference in the world!
Don't let Sjögren's keep you from doing the things that you love. It may take a little more effort on our part, but it's worth it!