World Sjogren’s Day

Fri, Jul 23, 2020

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Please indulge this off-topic post. It’s an important day for me personally, World Sjogren’s Day.

Sjogren’s (pronounced “show-grins”) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes white blood cells to attack the body’s moisture-producing glands. Some four million Americans, 90 percent of them women, are living with Sjogren’s. I’m one of them.

There is no cure. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, and the best you can do is learn to manage them.

What’s it like living with Sjogren’s? Well, just imagine ….

  • that you are constantly wiping grit from your eyes, and eye drops afford scant relief
  • that you can’t swallow foods like crackers because you don’t have enough saliva
  • that your dry mouth causes rapid tooth decay and you make frequent visits to the dentist
  • that your dry nose predisposes you to sinus infections, nose bleeds and respiratory problems
  • that no matter how much water you drink, you can’t replenish your body’s moisture
  • that your skin is so dry you use night cream under your makeup
  • that you feel constantly fatigued and the doctor simply chalks it up to depression
  • that you have episodes of joint and muscle pain with no explanation
  • that for days on end you feel as if you have the flu, except you don’t
  • that you have good days and bad days, but you can’t predict when they’ll occur
  • that you’re sent from doctor to doctor for more than a decade before being diagnosed, and even then specialists disagree with each other

I don’t have to imagine any of these things; I live them.

Yet I’m fortunate. Although this is a systemic disorder, none of my major organs have been affected. I’m still mobile, still able to work, and have never been hospitalized due to Sjogren’s.

Click the graphic below to enlarge; it’s from the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation site, where you’ll find much valuable information for patients and healthcare providers.

illustration of Sjogren's symptoms

This post was written by:

Connie Reece - who has written 152 posts on Every Dot Connects.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve Woodruff Says:

    Connie, sorry to hear about this. Honestly, with all my years in the medical field, I never heard of this affliction until today…

  2. Sheila Scarborough Says:

    Thanks for this writeup, Connie. Now I have a much better understanding of what you’ve been dealing with, and hope I can help on those “bad days.”

  3. Lauren Says:

    Hi Connie,

    Nice to meet you. My grandmother also has Sjogren’s and fights many of the same symptoms. I will keep you in my thoughts and thank you for sharing your experience.

    Lauren (@Scottland)

  4. Brenda Thompson Says:

    Dearest Connie, I can’t imagine not only how you live with this but how you do so with your lovely and giving personality and sense of humor always intact. You are truly a remarkable person and I pray that somehow, soon, you get some relief from these debilitating symptoms.

  5. Connie Reece Says:

    Steve, thanks so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of Sjogren’s — even with 4 million affected, it’s not well known among medical professionals. That was one of the reasons I decided to post about it.

  6. Connie Reece Says:

    Oh, what a dear friend you are, Sheila. Keep on being your funny, snarktastic self on Twitter. You can always make me smile!

  7. Connie Reece Says:

    Lauren, thanks so much for reading and commenting. It’s good to make connections with others who understand what it’s like living with Sjogren’s.

  8. Connie Reece Says:

    Brenda, your comment touched me. Thanks for being a good friend!