If you search the web there are numerous pages that will give you the definition of Dermatomyositis. Here are a couple…and then mine!
Mayo Clinic’s definition: Dermatomyositis (dur-muh-toe-my-uh-SY-tis) is an uncommon inflammatory disease marked by muscle weakness and a distinctive skin rash. Dermatomyositis affects adults and children alike. In adults, dermatomyositis usually occurs from the late 40s to early 60s. In children, the disease most often appears between 5 and 15 years of age. Dermatomyositis affects more females than males.
There’s no cure for dermatomyositis, but periods of remission — when symptoms improve spontaneously — may occur. Treatment can clear the skin rash and help you regain muscle strength and function.
Wikipedia’s definition: Dermatomyositis is a connective-tissue disease related to polymyositis that is characterized by inflammation of the muscles and the skin. While DM most frequently affects the skin and muscles, it is a systemic disorder that may also affect the joints, the esophagus, the lungs, and the heart. In the United States, the incidence of DM is estimated at 5.5 cases per million people.
My definition: Dermatomyositis is an autoimmune disease that randomly appeared out of nowhere for me. It has affected my skin and muscles to the point of pain and exhaustion. Skin wise, my hands are affected the most and the rash has never gone away, although I am only 2 years into my diagnosis. DM has also brought on an onslaught of side effects from medications, super fun stuff, ok not really all that fun! Oh yeah, did I mention the meds?!? (I will list those on another post) It means routine visits to the lab to get my blood drawn and having a lingering fear of cancer in my future due to having a higher risk (my doctor says there is a 15% higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer).
Most of all, it means that I have a drive and passion to be healthier and happier, not only for myself but for my family. Before I was diagnosed I never had to fight for my life, in a weird sort of way, DM has given me that…FIGHT!