Beth Richards – So positive!

Hello to my Scleroderma friends. My name is Beth Richards.

I would like to share my Scleroderma journey with you all. From my mid 40s I experienced symptoms, from cracks in my finger tips that bled. Then my fingers were turning white and tingly when it was cold. My fingertips became infected which sometimes led to
gangrene, which took months to heal. One finger refused to heal so my surgeon amputated the top knuckle. It doesn’t bother me at all now.

I was diagnosed with high BP in 1997 and it is managed with medications.

We owned and managed an orchard growing Apples and Pears in Lower Moutere near Motueka for 14 years. It was very physically demanding, but I was super fit from the orchards work plus my running half marathons for many years. I started to tire easily and limp from my arthritic hip, so I walked from then on.

When I turned 50 in 2002 I felt like the wheels had fallen off. I had my first hip replacement in early 2006 then my first
shoulder replacement late 2006. From then until 2019 I’ve had at least 25 operations and several dislocations of both hips and one shoulder.

I developed a haematoma in my right shoulder from an aspiration to check for infection. It finally burst then bled on and off for a week. By the time I was admitted to Nelson Hospital I had a massive infection. After 4 operations in 3 weeks the Surgeons removed my
shoulder. I had septic arthritis which took months to heal. I cope very well without it.

I fell heavily and broke my pelvis and hip in 2011 which has resulted in major weakness. I have muscle weakness which has led to my inability to walk far.

I’ve just been diagnosed with mild PAH. I try to be a happy positive person and enjoy life. Meeting my 4 Nelson friends in March this year has been wonderful. We meet when we can and share our stories over cake and coffee. Rosemary, Lisa, myself and we have
enjoyed Terry’s brief friendship. Sadly he passed away 2 weeks ago. We hope his wife Maggie will join us when we all meet again.

Last year I purchased a mobility scooter.

It has changed my life.

I have independence!!

I scoot down to Mapua from Ruby Bay hills in 35 to 40 mins.

It’s lovely being in the fresh air and meeting with friends for coffee or lunch. My 2 granddaughters bike with me on the cycle tracks and footpaths. Lots of fun in the sun. My life has changed a lot over the last 20 years. I’m now 67.

I do miss not being able to spend time in my beautiful garden and walking on the beach collecting shells and interesting stones for my garden art. My family, especially my children and siblings are so supportive and caring. My husband Ron is wonderful and so caring. He will do anything to make my life easier.

I have amazing friends who help me in many ways as well.

I’m a very lucky lady!

It’s very easy to look back at what you used to do, but it’s far more positive to look forward to what you can do now
and be thankful and happy. Summer is on its way🌞

Cheers everyone

Fond regards Beth Richards.