Psoriatic Arthritis at Fifty Is Not What I Expected
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, I am here to tell you firsthand that if you have psoriatic arthritis, you need to be ready and willing to learn new tricks. I was diagnosed with both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in my early thirties.
At the time I had no clue how these conditions would change my life.
Psoriatic arthritis and the change that comes with getting older
There was a short window of hope for the future I desired after chronic pain from my psoriatic diseases entered my life. Both my primary doctor and rheumatologist assured me that although there was no cure, they would be able to manage my symptoms well enough that pain would not disrupt my life. As you can guess they were both wrong.
How does psoriatic arthritis change over time?
As the pain from psoriatic arthritis continued to chip away at my life and physical independence, I often found myself resenting those who were older and physically capable of doing more than I could. This was something that I didn’t realize I was doing until I was in my mid-forties.
It was at this point that I also realized that I had no control over the future. That I would have to find a way to enjoy life no matter what my chronic illness threw at me. This also meant not fearing what the future held.
What did I expect getting older to be like?
The vision I had for life in my fifties included lots of traveling, babysitting grandchildren, hosting every family celebration and the ability to physically do pretty much whatever I wanted. Basically, I expected to be just like my mom.
My mom ran circles around me, even before I became chronically ill. At fifty she worked full time, took care of everyone, was the hostess with the mostess and always on the go. Weekdays were for working hard and weekends were made for fun.
Fifty and fabulous
As I near my 51st birthday, I am here to say that fifty is nothing like I expected or dreamt it would be. It is better! Because of changes in how I live my life, my viewpoint of life with chronic pain and care for my mind and body, I no longer fear the future. Even though I have my chronic pain extremely well managed, I haven’t been cured and have been hit with one injury after the next throughout the past two years. And guess what? I love my life!
I am not the fifty-year-old woman I imagined I would be and that is okay! I have learned that it is okay to laugh and have fun no matter what my psoriatic diseases are up to. I no longer look at the use of mobility aids as something terrible but instead see them as a gift that allows me to do more than I could have ever imagined.
Some days I move slow and some days I run circles around those younger than me. I accept each day for what it is. I have learned that modifying an activity doesn’t change the outcome. Going for a walk with a rollator or crutches is just as satisfying as walking without them as I did before I was chronically ill.
The perks of getting older with psoriatic arthritis
The most freeing and liberating experience was letting go of what I thought my life had to look like. From the hours I work/sleep to how I adapt activities, what I do works for me, my spouse, and our family. Believe it or not, there is a perk of having psoriatic arthritis when you are over fifty. People finally stop saying you are too young to have this disease!!
The life I had hoped for when I was younger didn’t include illnesses of any kind. Would it be great if a cure were to be discovered during my lifetime? You betcha! But I don’t know how many more decades I have left in me and I refuse to spend the rest of my life waiting.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?