An annoyed woman is pulled in two different directions by smug doctors.

Diagnosed With Psoriatic Arthritis, Not Once, But Three Times

Lionel Richie’s mom may have been once, twice, three times a lady. But was she once, twice, diagnosed three times with psoriatic arthritis? Because I was! And not for the reasons you might think.

Sometimes a second opinion is needed to verify a diagnosis. Other times a second or third opinion disproves the original diagnosis and leads to the true culprit. But my triple PsA diagnosis has nothing to do with either of these reasons.

A new doctor with the wrong approach!

Instead, mine resulted from doctors who were out to make some extra money while avoiding a far more complicated issue. After moving from Arizona to California, I had to find a new medical team. It should have been easy. I repeat, it should have been easy.

The first few doctors I saw only wanted to dictate what my care should look like. They had no concerns about my previous experience with certain medications and refused to treat the pain. Refusing to be treated like a new patient and starting over with drugs that either didn’t work for me or that I had severe reactions to, I moved on.

Finally, I found someone who treated me like the experienced patient that I was. That was until he couldn’t reduce my PsA pain to a manageable level. Frustrated, he said, “I don’t think you have psoriatic arthritis!”

Let the diagnosing games begin

When asked what he thought I might have instead, he said he didn’t know but was sure it wasn’t PsA. First, there was the blood work. Then x-rays, followed by a few CT scans.

I will be honest and admit that none of this would have bothered me as much as it did, had I not had to pay to be retested. Would I have been frustrated with the time I had to spend retesting? Absolutely! But at that time, my wallet wasn’t thick enough to take unnecessary hits.

Exhausted and broke, I returned for the results. I had no idea what to expect when he entered the exam room with a massive smile on his face. But it sure wasn’t having him practically jump for joy to share that I did indeed have psoriatic arthritis.

Starting all over again...

While frustrated and less than thrilled with my doctor’s attitude towards his “diagnosis," I put up with him until my husband’s company switched us from a PPO plan to an HMO. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis to be questioned again, but guess what? It was.

Once again, new tests were ordered for no reason other than not liking the doctor who diagnosed me with PsA for the second time. And can you guess what the results were? That’s right! Psoriatic arthritis for the win again!

I guarantee that there will not be a fourth psoriatic arthritis diagnosis. While being re-tested both times, I was in excruciating pain from endometriosis and a botched hysterectomy. I didn’t have the energy to fight.

I live with psoriatic arthritis.

To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever have the luxury of living without that layer of intractable pain. But I am emotionally stronger than I was then. The next time a doctor tells me that they don’t think I have psoriatic arthritis, I will refuse unless they can give me a valid explanation.

Imagine how much my insurance companies could have saved had they stepped in and asked for a better reason than I was given for retesting. Or what about the time that could have been better spent discussing new treatment options instead of allowing my condition to progress to the level that it did?

How many times have you been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis?

This or That

Do you know what type(s) of psoriatic arthritis you have?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.