Tarra Maria Carrington was first diagnosed with scleroderma in July 2016, and the disease progressed with alarming speed, quickly affecting her mobility and making pain a constant companion. “Everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and brushing my teeth were becoming increasingly difficult,” Tarra explains. “I could no longer wear certain items of clothing because I couldn’t bend my elbows, and I had trouble sleeping as my skin was tightening all over my body.” In addition to the constant pain of her rapidly tightening skin, Tarra experienced severe acid reflux, a common symptom for scleroderma patients, robbing her of even the everyday pleasure of eating a good meal. “With lack of sleep, constant pain and fatigue I had become a shadow of my former self,” Tarra remembers.
Seeking some relief from the rapid progression of her scleroderma, Tarra made the difficult decision to undergo an Autologus Stem Cell transplant in May 2017. “It was a grueling procedure,” Tarra admits, “but according to my doctors I sailed through it without many problems.” The procedure finally gave Tarra some relief from her daily struggles with the disease.
Unfortunately, in 2020, at the age of 49, Tarra is once again dealing with symptoms; the disease has resumed its progression. Her skin has begun to tighten again, and she is back on mycophenolate, an immune-suppressing drug often she was taking back in 2016 before her stem cell transplant. But Tarra is not giving up. “My story continues,” she says.