Changed by Pain
Chronic pain from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis entered my life twenty years ago. It has been seventeen years since it took over my life. From the beginning the pain I experienced changed who I was, but the changes didn’t stop there and I suspect they will continue to change me for as long as I live. There were changes that one would expect, like physical limitations and then there were the ones that no one could have ever prepared me for.
A look at my life before pain took over
When this journey began, I had just made the decision to leave the working world and to become a stay at home mom. Although I was excited about my decision, it took some time to adjust to finding value in myself outside of job performance. And once I did, it didn’t take long for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis to take that away.
The ways in which pain changed my life
Overnight I became a full-time patient. After adding in endometriosis, surgical errors, and a few other problems there wasn’t time for anything else.
The next change was going from full-time patient to the patient no doctor wanted to touch because, in their words, my body and pain were too complicated.
I became the wife and mom that people thought was non-existent. Fellow church members assumed I had left my husband and children when I was too sick to attend weekly services.
I became the person who lied to everyone she encountered with a smile on my face and always replying “I am fine.” Thankfully, after 20 years, I am finally figuring out who I am. That is someone who has dreams and passions and is works hard at making them come true.
Losing trust in others
I have always been a skeptic, but I didn’t distrust people and physicians to the extent I do now. All the trust that my doctors want what is best for me and my body is gone. Throughout the past 20 years, there have family, friends, and acquaintances who, when the mood struck, would use my limitations as weapons to belittle me, suggest that I was less than, and as a way to build themselves up. The amount of people I trust has been reduced to an extremely tiny little circle.
Pain changed how I manage my condition
Not all the changes were bad. Although I spent the first thirteen years of my chronic life forcing my body to do what I wanted without regard of what is actually needed, it was the change that occurred seven years ago that actually had a positive impact on my life. By deciding to put the needs and demands of my body first, I began experiencing relief and was able to start enjoying life again.
When I became a full-time patient, my calendar was filled with doctor’s appointments and my purse with prescription bottles. Later, after every pharmaceutical protocol failed to improve the quality of my life, my time was spent researching natural and alternative ways to relieve pain and symptoms and I traded my pill bottles for herbs, electronic devices, exercise, and dietary changes. Basically, I became the type of person I used to view as odd.
My hope for the future
While the first thirteen years left me feeling hopeless and worthless, the past seven restored my hope for the future. The improvements that have occurred give me hope of enjoying the rest of my life.
My chronic illnesses have taught me to be patient, to think and look outside the box, and that nobody knows my body as I do. I no longer fear change and continue to learn new things about myself, body, and diseases every day.
My life today is nothing like it was 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. And I have no doubt it will continue to change in the next 5, 10, 20, 30, or hopefully 50 years!
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?