10 Things I Do More Now Because of Psoriatic Arthritis
1. Say “no.”
It took time, and I still struggle with it, but I’ve learned to say “no” without feeling too guilty. If I’m in a flare, there are just some favors I can’t do, and if I say “yes,” then I end up disappointing other people and myself.
2. Walk like a penguin.
When I was teaching dance to the little girls in ballet class, we’d often pretend we were animals to practice ballet moves across the floor: bunny hops, frog jumps, flamingos, and even penguins, which involved turning out your feet. Now that I have psoriatic arthritis, walking like a penguin comes naturally when my hips hurt.
3. Drink hot tea.
The warm mug feels so good on my achy hands early in the morning. Add in some honey, and I’m feeling good on the inside, too.
Falling asleep on the couch at 8pm is common for me. So are the weekend naps. I have to remind myself that my body is fighting a battle against itself, and even though I am feeling ok, it’s quite normal to be exhausted.
I’m not proud of it, but the number of four-letter words slipping out of my mouth has definitely increased. Curse you, psoriatic arthritis!
6. Ask for help.
I’m a pretty independent person. I don’t like to ask for help, and it really bothers me to know that my psoriatic arthritis keeps me from doing all I want to do. In my mind, I should be able to get in the car and drive myself to the grocery store. I should be able to go on a cleaning spree and get the house sparkling from top to bottom. I should be able to bake 10 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange. My body says otherwise. I’ve come to realize that even superheroes need help, and I’m getting better about asking for it. (My family says I still need a lot more work on this, but I am improving.)
7. Use a fork.
I know it seems silly, but marrying into a Chinese family and having a husband who makes awesome fried rice, I’ve come to enjoy using chopsticks for Asian cuisine. Unfortunately, holding them is increasingly difficult when my hands are in a psoriatic arthritis flare. I don’t like that I have to use a fork, but I am definitely not giving up the tasty meals.
8. Shop online.
Thank goodness online shopping is expanding, and going to the mall is not always necessary to find the perfect gift. I like to use AmazonSmile.com so I can give back to charities that help psoriatic arthritis patients, like me.
9. Fight with a specialty pharmacy.
And, yes, insurance companies, but mainly one specialty pharmacy. My son is covered under my husband’s insurance, which means, he has to get his prescription filled at a different specialty pharmacy than me. Mine is great! Representatives call me to schedule the delivery, automatically enroll me in a prescription savings plan for $10 co-pays, and follow up to make sure the medication was delivered to my doctor’s office. It’s a breeze!
It’s not the same with my son’s. Every single interaction with the pharmacy is a fight. Every. Single. One. They forget to bill his secondary insurance. They forget to follow up with obtaining prior authorization. They get irritated when you call to find out the status of the medication. They will not enroll my son in a prescription savings plan and then give you the wrong phone number to call to enroll him on my own. They never apologize for any inconvenience – which is ALWAYS. And to top it off, we get bills saying we never paid and our insurance is dropping us. Of course, we pay our bills, so getting that straightened out is always a mess.
10. Make plans flexible.
Rarely do I commit 100% to social activities. It’s too difficult to know in advance how I will be feeling on a certain day, and if I have to cancel, the disappointment from all sides will be less. I try to make plans that can easily be changed from evening to afternoon, from one location to another, or put off entirely for another day. I feel good when I can attend, but not as bad when I can’t.
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