Turning Back The Clock

Psoriatic arthritis struck me when it was my turn to focus on things. I had always wanted to advance my career and enjoy my life

How long did it take to get diagnosed?

It was a very long walk to get a diagnosis for me. After several long years of being misdiagnosed, I was finally given a diagnosis. I had all kind of symptoms, but my health care team said it was all in my head. No one connected the dots as to what condition I was experiencing and the pain I was having.

How did PsA change my life trajectory?

Furthermore, no one understood my pain. I can't exactly explain how I felt, psoriatic arthritis pain is particularly excruciating. I started having symptoms at 25. My kids were getting older, and now it was my turn to focus on things. I had wanted to advance my career, start my own business, and enjoy life with my friends.

Unfortunately, all of that changed when I was diagnosed with PsA. I had to walk with crutches for a short time to get around.

How was my body impacted?

I had to soldier through the outrageous pain. My family would take me outside under a shaded tree during those excruciating days when I couldn't walk or help myself. I had to be moved from one spot to another as the sun moved. I dreaded this part of my life; it was as if I were zero grazing.

Psoriatic arthritis primarily affected my jaw, knees, ankles, spine, and wrists. I was unable to perform routine tasks such as washing dishes or dressing myself. Furthermore, waking up on certain mornings was a nightmare.

How did others view my struggles?

I needed assistance most of the time, and my children and spouse may have thought I was exaggerating and reluctantly assisted.

This disease is also unpredictable. You may feel fine at night and be unable to move your body the next morning. Planning your next day's schedule is difficult because you never know what will happen or how you are going to feel. People think you're faking your illness, so you end up losing them as well.

What treatments have I tried?

I had to search for treatments. I've tried several drugs, starting with pain relievers when the doctors didn't know what was wrong with me. Then, when I was diagnosed, I was given methotrexate, which did not help reduce the pain, followed by more drugs, which had numerous side effects. Since then, I've switched from one medication to another, but biologics appear to help greatly.

I felt relieved when I received the doctor's diagnosis because I now understood the condition and had the correct medication. I've also had the honor of joining several support groups where I learned a lot about the disease and felt less alone.

I've mastered the art of temporarily finding some relief when I have a flare. I did daily exercise, like walking, meditation, and some yoga. Eating a healthy diet was also effective and efficient for me. I started drinking green tea on a daily basis, which helped my body feel rejuvenated and reduce some of the pain.

How have I learned to live with it?

We all need to take charge of our lives and pay close attention to our healthcare team. I understand that psoriatic disease may be a part of me for the rest of my life. I have learned to live with it while also moving on with my life.

Thinking about it and whining about it would aggravate my situation. Instead I decided to accept it early and take action. Work with your specialists and pay close attention to their advice. My dermatologist's and my rheumatologist's advice and treatment helped me get to where I am today.

I got psoriatic disease in 1963 and I am still living my best life. Whatever that might mean.

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