Mary and her daughter


My name is Mary Carrick and I have had DM for the last 13 years. I was fourteen when I was diagnosed with DM. I remember having the skin problems first... a red scaly rash on my knuckles, elbows, knees and my heels. My family doctor prescribed steroid creams, which did help but never got rid of my rash. Then the weakness started, I was so tired all the time and felt like no one understood.

My doctor was telling my mum I was lazy and my mum was telling the doctor I was not a lazy child. After about 6 months, I was eventually diagnosed. This was back in February 1992, so there wasn't a lot of awareness about myositis; my family doctor had to look the illness up. Initially I was on 100mg of prednisone daily. From the start of my treatment I just gradually got better, stronger day by day. By the age of 17, I was down to  2.5mg of prednisone on alternate days. I had relatively normal teenage years, apart from the mood swings...

When I think of what I put my parents through! Now at the ripe old age of 27 I can appreciate everything that they did for me. I love them dearly for being strict on me when they needed to and also allowing me my own space to develop even though I know they were terrified about what my illness might bring. I got married in May 2002 to Alan (most amazing support in my life) and having a family with Alan was all I wanted. The DM affected my lungs, so my doctors were concerned as to whether I should get pregnant or not. I decided the benefits outweighed the risks, and I gave birth to Emma-Louise on 8th May 2003. My pregnancy was difficult emotionally and sometimes physically, but I am not sure it was any more difficult than any first time mum to be. The only flare up I have had since my time of diagnosis was post pregnancy. My ck rose to 1200 and I had to go back on prednisone and Imuran. That was difficult for me as I get the moon face and weight gain; I know it is only cosmetic, but that matters to a girl. Well anyway, now I can firmly say Emma-Louise was well worth it. She is to turn two in May and making the decision to have her was the best thing I ever did.