Triple Whammy During Isolation
COVID-19 vaccination first dose. Check.
COVID-19 vaccination second dose. Check.
COVID-19 vaccination third dose (immunocompromised). Check.
COVID-19 booster, scheduled for a date exactly five months from my third dose...
But that wasn’t soon enough. COVID-19 found me.
Managing PsA with COVID-19
My COVID-19 symptoms were not too bad. I felt pretty sick for about three days — fever, chills, body aches, headache, sneezing, and diarrhea — but I never had trouble breathing, and I never reached a level requiring hospitalization. For that, I am genuinely grateful.
And somehow, fortunately, I didn’t give COVID-19 to my husband or the two exchange students living with us. I isolated myself in our basement for ten days. I didn’t want to take any chances in spreading the virus, even though my symptoms were improving within five days.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 was just the start of a domino effect. It’s not surprising since my medication for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis suppresses my immune system.
Within a day of COVID-19 symptoms, I started getting a pale rash across my chest that wrapped to my back. It was faint, but I knew what was coming my way since I had already had shingles twice before.
My doctor thinks the COVID-19 infection kickstarted another shingles infection. She quickly prescribed antiviral medication to treat the shingles, and I started feeling better within a few days. While I never got a full-blown rash with blisters, I did experience lots of burning and intense pain.
A PsA flare
Like with any other infection, my psoriatic arthritis went into hyperdrive. My back and hips were excruciating, as were my fingers and neck.
I spent most of my COVID-19 days in bed, which just intensified my arthritis due to a lack of exercise and movement.
Chronic dry eye flare
Usually, my chronic dry eye disease takes a back seat to my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Not this time. It just doesn’t bother me as much as my other primary conditions.
I used artificial tears constantly, and still, it made no difference. It hurt even to open my eyes. I never thought my dry eyes would cause more pain than shingles or my arthritis flare, but it did.
I still don’t know how I avoided it, but I never did a psoriasis flare. I’m very grateful for that because with diarrhea during COVID-19 and having genital psoriasis, that could have been a terrible situation.
This was a silver lining during COVID-19 isolation.
Even after my ten days of isolation, fatigue still had a firm grip on me. I’m not sure if it was the psoriatic arthritis flare or the COVID-19 infection itself, but I could hardly keep my eyes open either way.
This lasted more than a month and was difficult to shake. I’m used to being on the go and staying busy, but my body had other plans: early to bed, late to rise, and even some naps during the day.
Getting Back to Normal
It took nearly two months to get back to 100% finally. And even now, that’s a debatable number. I had some relapses, but I did make slow progress. My flares are now back under control, and I’m riding a wave of COVID-19 antibodies that make me feel a little invincible – at least in the short term.
Following guidelines, I got my COVID-19 booster once my symptoms were resolved. My COVID-19 symptoms were manageable, but the shingles and disease flares took me down.
I’m hoping to avoid any further COVID-19 infections because I’m unsure what fallout may occur if I get COVID-19 again. And I don’t want to find out.
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?