November 2004 - Scleroderma. Until my eldest daughter, Karen, told me her diagnosis, I had never heard the word. Oddly the number of people afflicted with Scleroderma is about the same as those with Multiple Sclerosis but everyone has heard about MS. It didn’t really scare me until I went on the net and researched this “sister” disease of Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. Then I got scared. “Incurable.” “Ultimately fatal.” Really scared.
My daughter and her husband, my wife and I looked everywhere for some light all the while watching the slow inevitable progression of the disease. Karen’s doctor estimated five years but unfortunately that is not five years of reasonable health and then death but a slow, inexorable, painful and disfiguring decline. This is a disease no sane person would wish on their worst enemy.
Then one day in March of this year Karen phoned and told us of a ray of light. She had met Kim Leal, a remarkable woman who has beaten Scleroderma. Karen told us of some women with whom Kim was working who were experiencing a reversal of symptoms. While hopeful, I’ve also seen enough of life to be cynical and suspicious.
So I did what you would do if your daughter was afflicted.
I went to see Kim Leal. Over the past eight months I’ve met with her a number of times. I’ve seen photos of Kim in the midst of the disease. I’ve read her doctor’s diagnosis and have seen the skin biopsy report that confirmed the Scleroderma diagnosis. I’ve discussed in detail the program, which has restored her health. The woman I had coffee with in her kitchen just two weeks ago shows no signs of the disease – and, to my sorrow, I know well the signs.
I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Joan, Mary and Susan four different times with about two months between each meeting. I’ve talked with all of them – and their husbands – and observed them as analytically as you would. I’ve watched each one make a noticeable improvement from meeting to meeting.
Three weeks ago Joan showed me pictures of her arms with the horrible sores, each about an inch across. She held up her arm to me and said, “Feel my skin and look at the difference…and I’ve got hair growing again!” Her skin was soft and smooth and sure enough, fine blonde hair was growing again on her arms. Her hands are working again too. She was so pleased that she could reach up and adjust the air control on an airliner. For those afflicted with Scleroderma, simple movements we all take for granted can be torture.
I had noted the large purplish blotches of Raynauds syndrome on Mary’s legs when we first met. Circulation impairment can be so severe with Scleroderma that amputation results. Three weeks ago she told me, “look, and no leg pain anymore.” The blotches were gone except for two small ones on her feet.
Susan’s husband told me how he had to carry Susan because she was unable to walk. Three weeks ago she walked right up to me and gave me a hug. “Look at my fingers. I can play the piano again after three years of not being able to.” I asked her to grip my fingers as hard as she could and I was surprised at the strength of her hands. This from a woman who, a year ago, couldn’t turn a doorknob.
The courage of these women who have worked so hard is something to admire and honor. With the care, help and guidance of Kim Leal of Dusty’s Place, they have actually reversed the ravages of this disease. I challenge anyone to talk to these ladies without a tear coming to your eye and a catch in your voice. I can’t.
My daughter Karen is just starting the treatment process but for Dusty’s Place to help other people suffering from Scleroderma, your support is needed. Your donation is tax deductible but even more important, you’ll be helping Dusty’s Place continue their work.
I have no financial connection to Dusty’s Place. What I do have is a precious daughter who now has hope where there was none before. What a lovely gift to give.
Please make your check payable to:
PO Box 827
Shingle Springs, CA 95682
(IRS EIN 45-0517118)
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