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My Journey to discovering #Sjogrens By Bianca Dessington

It started with my eyes burning for a couple of days almost

excruciatingly. I realized something was wrong when my eyes weren’t making tears when they burnt. So I made an appointment with an ophthalmologist. I was diagnosed with dry eyes and was given two different eye drops; problem supposedly resolved.

I use to get stabbing/pinching pains under my tongue. I drink a lot of water because my mouth and throat is always dry and then suffer from muscle spasms because I would manage to flush all the salts of my body.

I just always wrote it off as a sort of muscle spasm because of that. One day though the pain was rather uncomfortable and more noticeable and more widespread. I palpated the underside of my chin where the pain was, almost wanting to rub it away when I felt a rather large lump. I did not think much of it. People often have swollen glands from an infection, etc. The pain didn’t get better and gland never went away. So I started becoming concerned. I consulted with my physician and she sent me for an ultrasound.

It revealed numerous swollen glands in my neck and along my jaw line up to my ears. We further consulted with an ENT specialist he suggested that we perform a biopsy of the glands in my inner bottom lip. The biopsy came back and it was positive for Sjogrens. I started new medication for it and it seems to have helped and relieve some of the symptoms. Now I don’t go anywhere without eye drops and I will substitute at least one bottle of water with some rehydrate to prevent muscle spasms.

Dry skin is a real problem as well. Sometimes it feels like my skin is tearing from being so dry. Some patients suffer from joint pain as well. I can neither confirm nor deny this as I have arthritis. So I would not be able to tell the difference either way. I have learnt though that a lot of autoimmune diseases overlap and are entwined with each other. Over the years with new symptoms and tests it has become easier to diagnose. But alas, there is still no cure for so many of these things. I still have the original lump under my throat. The medication has not been able to reduce it.

I now sit with dilemma of whether to have it removed or just let it be but I am concerned it may turn cancerous. Its abnormal after all. I take each day as it comes and always try my best to look after myself as best as I can. It’s not always possible but we can only do our best, no one can expect more than that of us. Always look up and try to keep the faith.

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