My name is Megan LaRue. I am 41 years old & mother to 4 children, ages 16, 14, 14, 11.
Four years ago I was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma, a rare, progressive autoimmune disease that compromises my skin and internal organs. There is no cure, only medications to treat organs as they begin to fail. Mortality is anywhere from 5 to 30 years. There is no way to know how quickly it will progress & which organs it will affect first. Thus far my complications mostly exist around my esophagus, colon, kidneys, hands, mobility, severe fatigue, & facial discoloration. And then there is my teeth. Scleroderma causes secondary conditions. I also have Sjogren’s Syndrome. Four years ago I had a healthy, beautiful, straight, white smile.
The last 2 years my dentist was mystified at how quickly my teeth were deteriorating. I no longer have any enamel on my teeth, I have cavities pretty much on each tooth. My teeth are basically eroding away, yet my dentist says my roots & gums are fine, so he couldn’t justify pulling them out to get dentures. I tried bonding, but it doesn’t last.
A year ago my husband lost his job & his new employer does not offer dental coverage, so now everything for me is an expense. I’ve been going to a local dental school for my regular cleanings. Two months ago a cavity became infected & I had to have it pulled. It cost $450.00, the rest are soon to follow.
My face has started to change & I am so self conscious about it. I keep my hair long and around my face & wear lots of makeup to conceal what this disease has done to me. But I can’t cover up my teeth. I won’t smile & I put something in front of my mouth when I speak. I married my high school crush and soul mate just 2 months before I became sick. I feel so ugly around him now. All I truly treasure these days are moments spent with my husband & children. They make me want to smile, I just wish I could.
Please consider me a finalist in your contest. Thank you.