My name is Joyce Dawson and I am as average as you can get. In the fall of 1988, I was a house wife with two teenage daughters. All that fall I felt bad - my joints were sore. I just had the feeling something was not right.
In early 1989, my doctor told me I had scleroderma and sent me to a rheumatologist, who in turn told me I had seven to ten years to live and I would die a horrible death.
Excuse me? I refused to believe that and asked God to show me how to beat this disease. God placed, purely by accident, the book "The Road Back" in my friend's hands (Dr. Brown's first book, now "The Arthritis Breakthrough" by Henry Scammell with Dr. Brown). She brought it to me and asked, "Could this be your answer?"
At the time I was taking a drug that was about to kill me inch by inch. I quit it and went to see Dr. John Sinnott in Ida Grove, Iowa. The people there were wonderful. It was like - you are here to get treatment; you'll be well soon. Sounded like I was being treated for a cold and soon all would be well.
We went back to Arkansas, and as the book indicates can happen, I was bedridden for about three to four weeks. All of a sudden, my life came back. I had just started to work at a middle school in our town when this disease hit. I was able to go back to work in January after seeing Dr. Sinnott the previous September. My daughter got married in March and I 'did' the wedding.
I have an off and on again battle. I still work three days a week. A year and a half ago my kidneys failed and now I am on dialysis. I still take an IV of Cleocin once a month for maintenance. My local doctor says, being the pessimist he is, something is working. I have more ups than downs.
The treatment and God's hand have kept me alive. It's great to be alive!
Update May 9, 1997 - After being on dialysis for almost two years, Joyce received a kidney transplant. Life has returned to normal and she is doing just great.
"What about the scleroderma," she was asked. "God has taken care of that problem. I don't have it anymore, she replied."