New Year, New Me? Another Year With PsA And The Changes That Came With It.
My psoriatic arthritis diagnosis arrived two years after my psoriasis diagnosis, even though all the symptoms were present at the time. Twenty years after that initial diagnosis and I am just now fully understanding what it means to live with an incurable chronic illness.
Each year is a new challenge
Until recently, I entered each new year with the hope of improvement. Each year ended in disappointment. Then it hit me! Living with psoriatic arthritis has taught me that no two years are the same. There have been years where my PsA pain was non-stop and others when it barely registered on the pain chart.
Some years required more assistance than others. There have been times when even I had a hard time believing that I was actually sick. And others that I didn’t think I would survive.
Each year is a new challenge. This past year, psoriasis must have felt left out because it made one heck of an appearance in 2021!
A new attitude
I have recently come to the conclusion that psoriatic arthritis flares are not mine to control. And that is okay! Yes, I can and continue to do my best to limit inflammation-producing foods, but it won’t end all flares.
I used to feel the need to resist joy in any form while flaring - as if flare time was jail time for not doing better. In a way, it stems from the mentality that you cannot be that sick if you are laughing and enjoying life.
I would compare it to childhood when mom would say, if you are sick enough to stay home from school, you are too ill to watch television or play video games. But then I realized this way of thinking is still pushed on us in the exam room when doctors suggest we aren’t in as much pain as we claim because of how we act or look.
I can clearly see how wrong it was to think like that now, but I can also see how easy it was to fall into that trap. My desire to beat an incurable disease is gone. That doesn’t mean that I have given up and will just allow psoriatic arthritis to do its worst.
Instead, it means focusing on what I can control and creating an enjoyable life, even while flaring.
What will 2022 look like?
I have no idea what 2022 will look like regarding life with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I know that psoriasis has presented more challenges than I preferred in 2021, and I will be on a mission to make life more comfortable.
But I can’t predict what the next 12 months have in store. I can and will predict that I will continue with the changes I made in 2021. Giving myself grace, showing myself some compassion, and allowing for flare time to be fun time are just a few of the changes I made.
The new year may or may not be less painful, but it will be more enjoyable. I am done using psoriatic disease and my other illnesses to measure how good or bad a year was. 2021 made it very clear that my chronic diseases can throw their worst at me, yet it can still be a good year!
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