Erin first noticed symptoms in her hands and feet. Then the skin on her hands and forearms began to stiffen and thicken, followed by the loss of hand strength. She is currently experiencing stiff thickening of her skin in her feet, lower legs, forearms, upper legs, abdomen and some areas of her neck.
As the disease progresses, all connective tissue becomes involved including the surrounding organs. This can result in declining organ function. The disease lowers your life expectancy drastically. There is no cure at the present time and symptoms are handled as they arise.
Erin has been a teacher since 2001 and currently teaches full-time at Gorham and Ware.
Anyone who knows Erin is well aware of her love for animals. She has two beautiful husky dogs that she loves to spend time with. Erin is also very active in sports including softball, curling and hockey.
Scleroderma has affected all aspects of Erin's life. Erin's illness has caused limited range of motion, pain in her knees and heightened sensitivity to cold weather. It has become increasingly difficult to walk and play with her dogs. All sports that she once enjoyed have become too hard on her body. She has had to eliminate all sports which she is deeply passionate about, and limit outdoor school duties and activities. Another factor of this disease is fatigue. It has become difficult to work full-time.
Erin is currently dealing with her symptoms and pain with prescribed medication and an antibiotic protocol from her specialist in Vancouver. Erin's research uncovered positive outlooks for arresting or even reversing some of the damage caused by Diffuse Systemic Scleroderma through stem cell transplants. Promising advances in stem cell research as they apply to Scleroderma have been made by Dr. Richard Burt at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
This particular stem cell transplant for Scleroderma patients is only offered in three places worldwide - the USA, Russia and Israel. Erin is currently applying to hospitals in all three countries in the hopes that one can perform the transplant this fall.
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