Getting Diagnosed In A Timely Manner
There are so many people in the United States who can’t afford medical care. Sometimes we have good insurance, but then the high deductible gets in the way, which causes other issues.
What a delayed diagnosis looks like
My friend of many years has been living with psoriatic arthritis. At first glance, he is a normal 61-year-old gentleman that is so full of life. Here is a narration of his journey as a chronic illness patient.
He started developing reddish patches on his stomach and on the back when he was 14 years old. The patches were scaly, itchy, painful, and sometimes could crack and bleed. He remembers sleepless nights and long uncomfortable days of being in pain.
The cost of treatment
My dear friend's parents were oblivious to hospitals and too poor to afford any type of modern treatment. They tried herbal treatments which seemed to work but only temporarily. The condition would fade for a while then reappear.
He got a job with limited benefits and started having an invisible illness which he was ignorant too. He socialized in a normal way and went on with his condition until the age of twenty-five. The pain would come and go.
My comrade started experiencing numbness and stiffness at the age of forty. This affected his hands and feet. Later, his middle finger and the toes of his feet started to swell and become very painful. He has said the pain was so bad, he could feel it in his brain.
The excruciating pain, stiffness, and numbness made folding or twitching his hands hard, he could not grip much. He started having discoloration along with swollen fingers and toes. Being a social person in his field, this lowered his self-esteem as people could stare and ask questions about it.
Managing daily life
He faked smiling to hide the pain from his family and colleagues. He started having problems walking and his fingers started curling. It was years before he was able to go see a specialist.
The specialist diagnosed him with psoriatic arthritis after suffering so many years. The doctors did x-rays, blood tests, and scans. He couldn’t afford any of the new drugs. So, the doctors gave him samples of what they had in their office. The medicine helped ease the pain but could disappear then come back.
The impact on the body
My friend has become obese, suffers from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and fatigue. His hands and feet have become deformed because of no treatment and no diagnosis. Due to his illness, he had to retire at the age of fifty-two.
He spent what money he had on treatments, hoping that his condition would get better. He exhausted what little retirement benefits and savings he had just for a glimpse of hope. His prayer is for our government to be more aware of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. They need to make treatments affordable.
Today, my dear friend finds himself in a wheelchair, which qualifies him for full disability. Our government is willing to give him a check every month, feed him, house him, and give him medications now. This came at a cost to him. If he was only able to have affordable insurance, things may have been different for him.
He wants to use the time he has left to raise awareness. People need to understand what can happen to them when don’t get the proper treatment. His advice to other sufferers is to exercise and eat healthily. This will help combat other illness. If you are showing any symptoms to see a doctor as soon as possible; with or without insurance.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?