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Calendar pages with snapshots of a week of living with psoriatic arthritis

A Week in the Life of a Flaring Psoriatic Arthritis Sufferer

Living with psoriatic arthritis can feel at times like a game of craps.

What does daily life look like when living with psoriatic arthritis?

Each day brings a new challenge or change of circumstance seemingly based on the throw of a metaphorical dice. This is my typical experience of living with psoriatic arthritis over a week.

 

Monday blues

*Alarm chimes* Monday – let’s see what you’ve got. I lost a couple of hours of sleep last night to that knee that wouldn’t stop throbbing. You’d think it wouldn’t hurt with no weight on it. How heavy are these bed sheets!?

At least I took it easy over the weekend. Monday also comes with a feeling of regret. I sacrificed my free time to be fit enough for work. *sigh*. As with every morning, quick self-health check. What hurts? What doesn’t but did yesterday? Have I lost any movement?

Apart from the knee, everything seems ok. Then I step out of bed and as per every morning, momentarily I completely forget about the heel pain. Most psoriatic arthritis sufferers will be familiar with plantar fasciitis at some point in their lives. My current flare of this has lasted almost 18 months and every day I step out of bed to the sensation of walking on broken glass. It eases as I use the tendons throughout the day but it bites me every single morning.

Fast forward to Monday evening and I’m exhausted. I have a desk job by design and every Monday I still feel like a teenager that’s just completed their first day of work experience. I’m beaten. By 8PM I’m struggling to stay awake on the sofa, by 1AM I’m finally asleep in bed thanks to disruption from the pain.

Mid-week breaking point

By Wednesday evening, I’m ready to cry. On the plus side, I know what I am working with at this stage of the week. A very painful right knee, sore neck, stiffness in my right hand and of course, those heels. However, by now, the dreaded fatigue has set in.

I have had numerous forms of arthritis since I was a child but it was only with psoriatic arthritis that I experienced chronic fatigue. It’s indescribable to somebody that’s not lived with it.

The way your body feels ten times heavier, the struggle to keep your eyes open or how the simplest task of changing the baby can feel like you are trying to accomplish it with a small car on your back. It’s exhausting.

At this point in the week, I am irritable, my patience is limited and my mood is flat. I’ve stopped doing the things I enjoy in the evenings and I am not getting to sleep until the small hours. I am a robot who’s only mission is to get through the work-week to pay the bills.

Friday. Goodness knows how I did that!?

Forty hours work and 65 tablets later, I’ve made it to Friday. I was supposed to go to the pub with friends tonight but I’ve picked up another chest infection from the biologics. I’ll have to cancel. I always have to cancel.

Anyway, no need to be disheartened, it’s Friday. A takeaway and a movie with the wife and no need to worry about how long the pain takes to control or when I get to sleep, its Saturday tomorrow.

It’s normally at this point my wife reminds me we have a one-year-old. I can’t even remember what a weekend lie-in feels like!

I love Saturday’s with my family. Becoming a parent was the best painkiller I ever discovered. It gives me focus and my fight to carry on. Becoming a parent with arthritis was what encouraged me to start writing.

Relax, it’s the weekend

The possibilities – day trips, dinner with friends, catch a show? But wait, I should probably rest to ensure I get to do this all over again on Monday. *Screams*

What does ‘a week in the life of’ look like for you during a flare? What is your motivation and how do you manage?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Sonoftadpole
    1 month ago

    Walking on broken glass! Yes A million ti,es over Yes…this is spot on (pardon the pun)!

  • Vickie Wilkerson moderator
    1 month ago

    Hi @sonoftadpole thanks for responding. I am glad to hear you found this article relevant. Vickie W., Community Moderator

  • lydiamene
    2 months ago

    I’m retired but I have Lupus along with PsA so when I get hit with a flare, I really get hit. My flare started yesterday, it caught me by surprise which happens sometimes. The fatigue and the pain is the worst, you know if you just take your meds you’ll feel a little better, but I can’t or better to say, I don’t want to even move that little bit to take my meds. It’s so overwhelming. I never know when my flares are going to end.

  • carolwarrem
    2 months ago

    Oh the fatigue! You my friend have described it best..indescribable to someone who has never experienced it. My husband recently had a bad cold and he was complaining about weak he was and that his body felt so heavy. So I told him to please never forget what he is feeling because that is exactly how I feel when I am in a flare with fatigue. At least our pain can be somewhat managed, but sadly there is nothing we can do for the fatigue except lay down. No amount of caffeine is enough to beat it. For me, it is the worst part of this awful illness.

  • Randy
    2 months ago

    Fatigue is absolutely the worst. Pain you can usually force through but not the fatigue. I laid back in my recliner today and was just gone for about 2 hours. What woke me up was the pain from laying back so long and my hands were cramping do bad I couldn’t move them. Fun times! My wife is great though. Never complains and understands as much as one can without going through Psa.

  • Leanne Donaldson
    1 month ago

    I’ve found hand cramping to be a big issue as well @sonoftadpole and @randy not to mention of course, the fatigue. I had a telehealth appointment with my doctor the other day and mentioned that the pain from the cramping was waking me up at night too. She wondered if maybe it could be osteoarthritis pain that was causing that. She said she wouldn’t know for sure until an in-person appointment, but she said that type of pain is often caused by osteoarthritis (in addition to the PsA of course). I’d be curious what other providers think as well. I don’t think I’ve ever been officially diagnosed with osteo, but I don’t know…
    What about you? Any history of osteo as well or know how to tell the difference in the types of pain? How have you been getting on these days? -Leanne, Community Moderator

  • Sonoftadpole
    1 month ago

    Randy..you mentioned hand cramping…this has been bothering me for a few months..not to mention I’ve broken several glasses..any idea what’s causing this? I’m going to talk with doc about it as soon as Covid 19 locks downs are lifted ..until then I’m curious ..

  • etm1109
    2 months ago

    Couple of comments. I find PSA fatigue equivalent to those times I worked outside on a hot summer day doing extensive lawn work. That entire feeling when your done where the fatigue goes down to the bone. I also have diabetes, and I find diabetes fatigue more like being groggy and sluggish. That’s how I know I’ve overdone something.

    Planar facitis, never thought about it like stepping on glass. I guess my description was like standing on a sharp spike that you could not avoid with your foot. It was hard talking to family and work colleagues why I shuffled around like a really old person. Used to take me up to an hour to get out of bed and put pressure on my foot because the pain was so bad. Then i went on biologics and the pain is about a 1/4 of what it used to be. I used to get incredibly bad foot cramps as well. I remember one time my wife found me on the floor asking me why I was screaming. I just remember telling her, I’m trying to get rid of my foot. The cramp was so bad I was delirious in pain. Not fun times.

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