I am a sixty three year old male. In June of 1997, life was good. I was working as a manufacturers’ sales rep, happily married for twenty-five years, and generally enjoying life. Then my world fell apart. When I returned home from work on June 20, 1997, I was informed by the local police department that I had lost my sweet wife in an auto accident that afternoon. Things started looking up that fall when I met my current wife in a widow/widowers’ social group. We were married on May 30, 1998. But then things started falling apart again. I had a radical prostatectomy on June 29, 1998 due to cancer. My father died in March of that year. I was informed, just six weeks after losing my first wife in an accident, that my best friend had been diagnosed with liver cancer and had a year to live.
I believe that all this stress triggered my scleroderma. In September of 1998, I was having problems with carpel tunnel syndrome, which was a symptom of the scleroderma. A neurologist confirmed the carpal tunnel in March of 1999. April of 1999, my family doctor was sharp enough to do some blood tests and felt that there was ample reasons to send me to a rheumatologist. That month the swelling of my hands started and I had a funny feeling when swallowing. First of May my feet started swelling and my joints ached. I could hardly get up and down the basement stairs.
At about this time, a friend of mine advised me of the book, Scleroderma, The Proven Therapy That Can Save Your Life , and I feel especially fortunate to have been given that information. The rheumatologist was really hedging on putting a name to my disease until I did some other reading from my late wife’s medical books (she was a registered nurse. ) I finally told the doctor that I was almost certain that I had scleroderma. He agreed and sent me to a specialist at the local University Hospital. They confirmed this. My doctor stated that he supported traditional therapies and that I should know this “up front.” I informed him, after reading the book, that I would resist taking most of what he prescribed, and that I wanted to get a prescription for minocycline. He laughed at that suggestion, and said that he had heard about AP, but didn’t think it would do much good. I sent for, and gave to him the literature from Road Back, which was designed to help convince doctors of the AP. After a little resistance, and a statement that ” it is relatively harmless and inexpensive,” he agreed to put me on 100 mg of minocycline twice a day. This started on September 23, 1999.
I can happily say that I have had a relatively good quality of life for that last two to three years. The only problems that I am experiencing at this time is Raynauds, my fingers are curved, but not inflamed. I have some discoloration of the skin. I quit taking the minocycline about seven months ago as I was getting a green discoloration of the skin on my cheeks, in front of my ears.* I have been closely monitoring myself, to see if I begin to get any inflammation of the joints, as I will quickly go back on the minocycline. My rheumatologist has acted rather amazed at my improvement, although he never indicates that he gives the AP any credit. It was rather interesting at my last appointment, though, as he indicated that he had a new scleroderma patient that was asking about AP. My doctor told them that he was an expert on AP, thanks to one of his patients——–ME !!!