Sjögren’s

I have an auto-immune disorder known as Sjögren’s.  My body attacks the water-producing functions of itself.  So imagine anything water-related in your body and shut it down.  Your mouth is always dry no matter how much you drink.  This causes your mouth’s natural defenses, saliva, to be compromised and without it you have no enamel on your teeth.  No enamel means no strength, and your teeth just crumble into sand.  Imagine it, not just cavities, but entire corners of your teeth just crumbling into dust in your mouth.  Because of Sjögren’s, I’ve had full dentures, upper and lower, since I was 29.

Keep imagining you have Sjögren’s with me.  You spend all your money on Chapstick but your lips are always cracked and bloody or peeling off.  Your skin is dry and itchy, never moist.  When you take a hot shower it just dries out your skin more, and using soap is the worst.  It’s like little bugs crawling on your skin driving your mad because your nerves are so dry.  Imagine your hair turning gray before you hit your 20’s because that’s a common sign of Sjögren’s.

But the worst symptom is dry eyes causing cornea rips.  See, when your eye gets dry, it gets sticky.  When it gets sticky, it adheres itself to the inside of your eyelid when you blink, and it can happen in an instant, or it can superglue itself there all night as you sleep.  When you do open your eye again, the glued part of your eyeball is pulled off by your eyelid, like pulling the skin off of a grape, leaving the juicy exposed nerves below the surface.  It’s far more painful than it sounds, and it sounds horrible.  When it happens I’m completely blind for a few hours, and in pain for the rest of the day.  Because a slight breeze is all it takes to dry out my eyeballs, and it would spell disaster if I was out driving or away from home in general, I have to wear these stupid looking glasses to protect my eyes from the wind.Glasses

You may see me in pictures without my glasses because I try to take them off for pictures, but they’re always with me.  They’re transitions too so I can wear them inside and at night

You can find more resources on Sjögren’s at:

 

https://www.sjogrens.org