Pat ONeillThe Raynaud’s journey for Pat Oneill has been a long and frustrating road. While not confirmed, it may have begun with a severe case of frostbite back in her 20’s. Decades passed, and it wasn’t until she reached the age of 74 when more serious symptoms began that eventually lead to her diagnosis of Raynaud’s secondary to CREST syndrome.

She remembers noticing her fingers occasionally turning white. Still, it did not raise serious alarms until she developed three painful ulcers on her fingers. The journey of hopping from one doctor to another started there.  Her longstanding physician’s assistant, the dermatologist she was then referred to, along with three other doctors she previously consulted offered no answers, just antibiotics which didn’t help them heal.  Her fingers were getting increasingly painful, and no one seemed to know why. She was desperate for relief and clarity.

On a particularly painful Sunday, she went to a walk-in clinic seeking help and some answers. The practitioner there took an X-ray confirming the infection hadn’t entered her bloodstream and declared “To me it looks like Raynaud’s!”  The doctor admitted his expertise did not cover this territory, prompting Pat to do her own deep dive into what Raynaud’s was all about.

Armed with Google and a growing sense of urgency, her research led her straight to the type of specialist she needed: a rheumatologist. With a new direction and a little push, she managed to secure an appointment. This was the turning point.

The rheumatologist was thorough and identified that Pat’s Raynaud’s was secondary to CREST syndrome, a limited form of progressive systemic sclerosis.  The initials stand for calcinosis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, esopha