In 2015, Mercy began to notice changes in her health. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that she received a definitive diagnosis: scleroderma. “I was progressing pretty quickly at the time,” she shares.
For Mercy, treating scleroderma has not been straightforward. “The problem with scleroderma is that it’s very complicated to treat,” she says. “I can be on a med that’s working for three months and it’ll stop and we have to find a replacement for it.” Adapting to these shifts has become a norm for Mercy, as she collaborates closely with her doctor in search of the most effective therapies. “I’ve had my stem cell transplant and I’m over a year out now,” she shares.
Mercy knows firsthand the difficulties of scleroderma and how it is “not without pain, not without worry, and not without fear.” While she recognizes how scleroderma affects everyone differently, she encourages those with this disease to “use our strength and hope to build a life around scleroderma rather than let it stop us.”
For her, this has meant pursuing further education. Mercy is now a college graduate with an AA in psychology and is currently continuing her education at UC Riverside. She also volunteers, and shares that “I am currently a mentor in the Big Brother Big Sister program with a 10yr old ‘little sister.'”
Mercy also recognizes the value of participating in research and is part of “targeted radiation research that works to not harm our lungs and kidneys for scleroderma patients.” She hopes that her story can help inspire others in the community. “It may be a bumpy road but it’s worth it,” she says. She shares her journey, both the highs and lows, to “encourage others that scleroderma isn’t the end.”
Thank you, Mercy, for sharing your experiences, spreading awareness, and help moving research forward for better therapies and ultimately a cure for scleroderma.