An Endless Search For A Diagnosis
The journey searching for a clear cut diagnosis is long, cruel, and exhausting. Some have struggled for years, while others are still endlessly searching for answers.
Searching for my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis
In my case, I suffered with the heavy mental toll brought about by my undiagnosed illness. I can describe it as a tiring round trip of clinic visits while I jumped from one doctor to another. Additionally, it involved a lot of blood work, injections, and plenty of diagnostic tests which turned out to be "normal".
Usually, the doctors would tell me that I was just probably stressed and that maybe it's psychosomatic. They made me feel like I was looking for things that are not really there. These insensitive remarks definitely invalidated my pain so much that I began to doubt if it was real or not.
The relief of an answer
I struggled with these symptoms since high school but I only found out that I had psoriatic arthritis at the age of 24.
For some people, hearing your diagnosis for the first time is like a stab in the chest. Although, this was not the case for me. Mine came in as a form of relief and validation. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way glorifying my sickness. I’m not celebrating the fact that I am chronically ill, but I'm happy to know that my pain and discomfort are not just all in my head. I was assured that my pain was valid and that it was not at all imaginary.
Hearing my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis from my rheumatologist was definitely one of my life's greatest turning points because, for the first time in years, I felt hopeful. I enthusiastically looked forward to receiving the proper medications and treatment. I was happy that I would now be able to focus my energy towards healing and recovery.
Diagnosis is unpredictable
However, in the very same year, I was later on diagnosed with fibromyalgia as well.
What we fail to realize is that at times, the road to getting the correct diagnosis is unpredictable and uncertain. Knowing that you have to deal with a chronic condition for the rest of your life is tough enough already, but getting another diagnosis that is equally debilitating on top of the previous one is a whole new story.
Your illness does not define you
Whether you have a name for your illness or not, or even if you have a collection of illnesses too, let me remind you today that you are not your disease. Maybe you haven't realized it yet, but if you’re able to survive while your own cells are attacking your body, then I am pretty sure that you're strong enough to surpass anything that your sickness may throw in your way, too.
You are not defined by your diagnosis or its absence thereof. You are not defined by the things that you did not choose for yourself. Rather, it's your strength and your bravery that define you, along with your resilience to keep on pushing through.
Did you feel like you were on an endless search to your psoriatic arthritis diagnosis? Share your experience with us.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?