How A Psoriatic Arthritis Flare Affects My Day
Having psoriatic arthritis is tough. There is no doubt about that. It can take years to even get the proper diagnosis. Many of us with PsA can attest to that. By the time we do get that diagnosis, sometimes the permanent joint damage, well, it's done.
In my case, it took years of hearing the doctor trying to diagnosis osteoarthritis. It took a few years and a rheumatologist to finally say it was psoriatic arthritis. Great. A diagnosis. My journey was far from over. What's next? Finding a treatment that actually worked for me.
What does a minimal pain day look like?
My typical day starts at 5 AM. This is when the alarm goes off for my husband's workday. I get up as well. I like to make him lunch. After some coffee and a shower, I start my day by straightening up the house. While it's far from a deep cleaning, I always seem to stay so busy.
Having a mother and a mother-in-law that are both in their 70’s usually means that I am helping them with something - especially doctor's visits. Sometimes I find time to do something in my flower garden. It can be really relaxing. By the end of the day, my time is spent cooking supper and cleaning the kitchen.
Everything changes with a flare
When a flare hits, it can send my day right down the toilet. The 5 AM start to my day is a no-go. I am in bed finding myself hurting so much that even turning over is painful. Forget the coffee and the shower.
My mind says I should be up straightening the house. My body screams it will not happen today. If I am lucky enough to make it out of my bed, then I walk straight to my recliner partnered with a heating pad. Everything else gets put on hold or gets rescheduled. No way can I get in my car to drive anywhere.
The emotional impact
Emotionally, a flare will tend to bring me way down. I think about all the things I could or should be doing. I think about playing with my two grandchildren. So many thoughts go through my mind. I’m sure most of you can relate to that as well.
It always seems to be a vicious cycle with psoriatic arthritis. You are okay one day and then bam! A brick wall in the form of a flare. I usually listen to a lot of music on those days of dealing with a flare. I play upbeat music that speaks to my soul so as not to get depressed.
Finding ways to cope
We all have our own up and down days with this disease. Let’s be honest, it gets hard. The trick I have learned over the years is to be accepting that this disease will ebb and flow. On those good days enjoy it. On the bad days be kind to yourself.
I realize that is easier said than done. Trust me it took me a long time to get to that place. However, once I did, it made dealing with psoriatic arthritis easier. I know there will be down days but they will not last. I just have to keep reminding myself of that when a flare happens.
What ways have you found in dealing with a flare? Is there something you do on the positive side to deal with it mentally? Are you still struggling with it?
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?