Psoriatic Arthritis Remission: Reality or Fantasy?
Isn't having psoriasis enough? Not just limited to the painful skin and mental health implications, managing psoriasis takes up so much room in my life. So, why oh why was I blessed with psoriatic arthritis? My shoulders are painful and heavy.
My psoriatic disease has always given me problems. The word psoriasis came into my vocabulary at the age of 5. I started getting symptoms of psoriatic arthritis at the age of 25. Can you imagine feeling hopeless for decades? The first question I asked my doctor was "Will this go away?" We all know the answer to that one.
As I started getting older, hopelessness and depression trapped me in a cage of fear. While psoriatic arthritis is not curable, it is treatable and manageable. I had to learn to stand up for myself - to my doctors, my loved ones, and strangers. It was not always easy and for the most part, was a tiring physical and mental journey.
Manageable, to me, means not a death sentence. Manageable means hope. Manageable means remission or minimal disease activity can be achieved.
Slowing disease activity
I want to share my experience and my outlook. I want to share with you that dark trains of thought and states of fear aren't necessary. Hopelessness is not something you have to feel.
The remission journey looks different for everyone - with and without medication. How would you know if you have achieved remission? For me, it's the ability to slow disease activity in a few different aspects. I've listed them below:
- Synovitis (inflammation of the lining of joints)
- Enthesitis (inflammation where tendons and ligaments attach to bones)
- Dactylitis (inflammation in fingers and toes)
- Spondylitis (inflammation of the spine)
- Nail or skin involvement (inflammation of nails or skin)
My own remission journey
Of course, treatment plans require the involvement of your doctor as well as considerations of your other consideration and current pain levels. It's not an easy journey. To make remission a possibility, treatment and therapies will have to be regularly adjusted. Lifestyle changes may have to be prioritized. Your doctors will check your progress against your goals regularly.
Personally, I have tried many times on this 30-year journey to achieve my definition of remission. But I am choosing to not give up hope. By reframing how remission is achieved or defined, I hope this impacts your treatment journey in all the right ways.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?