A woman runs on a winding path towards the light

My Long Journey to a Diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis

Most people didn't understand my condition or even care to know about it. They all assumed I was lazy or just a self-centered person.

I was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of five. By the time I turned 25, I began having symptoms of PsA.

My journey with undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis

At the time, I didn't know what it was. My knees swelled dramatically, I had sausage fingers, and my joints hurt like crazy.

My young adulthood in my 20's was unusual. When my young peers went on adventures, I was confined to the house, watching other people having fun, dating, and going out. This hurt the most.

Many people did not understand what I was going through. Only my parents and some family members knew, but most didn't fully understand.

I remember one day outside, just being young and kicking a soccer ball. My knees could not carry me anymore. I fell and cried painfully to the ground like a baby. My friends took me to the hospital, where the doctors asked a lot of questions and told me to follow up with the family doctor.

It took so long for the doctors to figure out what was wrong with me. It only took 25 years for them to figure out that I had psoriatic arthritis. My doctor thought I had some other illness, but when the testing came back negative for them, painkiller pills became like nourishment to me.

Finally getting a diagnosis

I have always seen a dermatologist, and years later, he suspected I had PsA after years of complaining of pain. He told me to see a rheumatologist, which he recommended.

I was diagnosed as having psoriatic arthritis after a series of tests, prescribed medication, and told to go for physical therapy. Since then, I have never felt more relieved since I finally had someone willing to help and listen to me. But twenty-five years to get a diagnosis is insane to me.

The treatment was beneficial in that it helped ease some of my discomfort. This doctor provided me with many different treatments, and I could resume activities that I had previously been unable to perform. I was able to play ball and go hiking, but as the years went on, I had to give up many more things.

It was during this time of my life that I realized how important it is to have family, friends, and communities who understand what you are going through. I would like to tell young people with psoriatic arthritis that having this disease doesn't define who they are and never will.

They can overcome it and become anything they want to be in life. I am 66 now and have done things in this lifetime that most people will just dream of doing.

Confidence in care

I just want to end by saying that we have excellent healthcare these days and medications for psoriatic arthritis. We have some great, reputable physicians who understand this disease better and know that the pain we are having is not in our heads. Listen to advice from your healthcare team, and keep the faith.

We are all in this together.

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