Mother to Daughter: Coping with Psoriatic Disease Together
I look just like my dad, but I inherited my mom's personality. We're so similar, from our senses of humor, hobbies, and even the way we decorate our houses for the holidays.
That's not the only thing I got from her, she and I both have a psoriatic disease. I developed juvenile-onset psoriatic arthritis while my mom was diagnosed in adulthood.
A duel diagnosis of psoriatic disease
While it's unfortunate, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can sometimes run in the family. She's the only one of her siblings to have it, and I guess I got 'lucky.' It's been a hard journey, coping with both our diseases, but it hasn't all been bad.
While I wish for perfect health for my mom and me, it's just not our reality. But in some ways, I'm grateful for our experience.
In addition to never feeling alone on the journey, I had an ideal role model. My mom gave me the tools that have gotten me to this point in my chronic journey.
My mom was an example of how much you can accomplish, despite having a chronic illness. Over the years, I've seen her do so much, everything from establishing a career to parenting. It's been inspiring to me, and her example has given me the courage to try things I might've imagined were impossible with juvenile arthritis.
She also showed me how necessary it is to set boundaries. My mom encouraged me to care for myself and taught me how through her example. There were days she pushed through, and there were days she rested. And I followed suit, with all the advice and encouragement from her.
Coping with my mom taught me empathy. This lesson will carry me through life. An awareness of what it is not just to live with a chronic illness, but to live with another who is also struggling. Our dual diagnosis has gifted me compassion and helped me see other points of view.
Ultimately, this lesson inspired me to start writing about my experiences as an effort to reach out to others.
Mothers will always understand
I'm glad I didn't have to go through it alone. My mom never guessed at how painful temporomandibular joint dysfunction or spine issues are: she already knew. She quickly anticipated my needs as a child. She provided a haven for extra rest and knew when to prioritize doctor visits.
I am incredibly thankful that I have a genuine empathetic parent. There were times I "got away with being lazy" or at least that's how classmates' parents and the school nurse probably saw it. But my mom knew I was in pain and needed to rest.
We all want to feel understood. And while there were times we didn't always see eye to eye, I knew at the end of the day that I wasn't alone.
Hope for the future of psoriatic arthritis
I've also learned from her that practical positivity is the best way to live. Just because my mother and I have the same disease doesn't mean we've had the same experiences. Even though we've had many of the same joints affected, we're on our own journeys.
While sometimes I do feel afraid for my future after seeing what she's gone through, I don't dwell on it often: Her experience won't predict mine. Plus, knowing that medical knowledge and treatments improve every day helps us hold onto hope for the future.
My mom and I are very close. We share so much more than genes. We share a deep bond rooted in shared experiences. I'm so thankful to have someone I could always turn to, no matter what. Not just for solidarity in our illness, but in everything.
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