Enough, Already

On Monday afternoon, I took Ginger to the vet. This was her semi-annual check-up, time for renewing all her shots. For a nearly 15-year-old Golden, she’s doing great, though getting a bit slow on the up-take, between arthritis, some hearing loss and what I suspect is a touch of senility, as well as the inevitable lumps and bumps so common to her breed.

Bringing her takes some preparation. She needs a walk, first, around the block, to loosen her joints and be sure she empties her bladder somewhere other than the exam room floor. Of course, the skies chose to open right before we needed to leave, so I took an umbrella and she got soaked, though didn’t seem to mind. Then she scrambled into the car with none of the usual coaxing, probably to get out of the rain.

At the vet, though, anxiety set in. She panted and panted, sounding like a choo-choo train, as she lay on the waiting room’s linoleum floor. When her name was called, she tried to pull me out the door. In the exam room, she paced back and forth, attempting to hide behind my skirt. It took our vet, her aide and me to lay calming hands on her in order to complete the exam and all the shots. We were both glad to get her back into the car and drive home.

I know how she feels. I am tired of doctor’s appointments. In recent weeks, I have seen my local rheumatologist, my Boston rheumatologist, my cardiologist, my uro-gynecologist, my dentist and my podiatrist. I’ve had my feet x-rayed. I need to make an appointment for my bi-annual pulmonary function test.

I don’t mean to whine. I’m grateful for all of these gifted medical specialists. Some people with scleroderma have to travel a half-day or longer to get the equivalent treatment. I only have to travel between 10 minutes and an hour-and-a-half to receive some of the best care in the world.

But I’m still tired of it. I wish I could take a summer vacation from it all.

This past Saturday, June 29, was World Scleroderma Day. Organizations in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia rallied to publicize the search for a cure. Someday, I hope, if enough people pay attention, and enough of us contribute, and Congress finally passes the Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act (reintroduced, once again, this legislative session, as HR1429), then maybe, just maybe, researchers will have enough funding to find that cure and future patients will be able to find lasting relief from this complex and devastating disease.

In the U.S., you can contribute here:

Scleroderma Foundation
Scleroderma Research Foundation

And write your representatives here:

Scleroderma Research and Awareness Act – HR 1429 – Scleroderma Foundation

Thanks for listening.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.


  1. Pat Bizzell says:

    Clever lead-in with your account of taking Ginger to the vet. I sent a message to Representative McGovern. I wanted to make sure he knew that people who do not have scleroderma care about finding a cure.

    • Thanks, Pat! I really appreciate your support. The more people that Congress hears from, the better. Last year, I believe the bill passed the House but was killed in the Senate. We have to keep trying.

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