What Will My Retirement Look Like with Psoriatic Arthritis?
I can’t believe I am writing the word “retirement.” I've been working for forty-eight years. Boy, it’s time to take a break and sit down. I've been thinking about this for a few years now.
How is my physical health?
My hands have started hurting me pretty badly, even with strong medications. I literally can’t use my hands that much anymore. My physical health is taking a toll on me, and my knees and hips are killing me if I sit all day.
What am I worried about?
All day long I’m thinking will this medication work for me this time? Will I ever go into remission? My mind always goes back to my medical future if I retire. Will I be able to afford my medications? You all know medications are very expensive.
How will psoriatic arthritis affect my days?
My psoriatic arthritis is affecting me in so many ways, especially my hands. But, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking – what am I going to do all day now? Having a chronic illness has not been nice to my body. My mind is sharp, just the pain at times.
I’m getting older, feel like my life is going to be so different now. What will happen in the mornings I can’t get up or on the days I can’t use my hands at all? We can’t foresee the future, but I know it will be very life-changing and it scares me at times. I don’t want to be a burden on my husband.
Will my retirement look different from others'?
I started having the psoriatic disease in 1963. Sadly, I had no idea how this would affect my life for decades to come. You hear people all the time talking about traveling, hiking, and seeing the world when they retire. These are the things I want to do also. I must realize that what I think about retirement is different from other people’s thoughts.
Yes, I want to have a happy retirement, with or without pain. I keep those negative thoughts behind me. They can’t change anything. What I do now to stay sharp is to be a patient advocate, write, moderate, share my journey, and blog. Still can’t use my hands a lot, but I got a voice-activated computer. This is the best-kept secret. One thing that I have learned is that I can just relax, enjoy the dogs, look at TV or just do nothing at all.
What's my advice?
My advice to anyone that is deciding to take this leap. Talk with your significant other about your plans. Decide who will take care of what, and agree if you’re going to stay in your current home or downsize. Do you want to travel, etc.? I want to see the world.
Yes, I do have several chronic illnesses, but I am still going to enjoy retirement and life itself. I do have things I want to do; it might take me longer than the average person, but I will get there. You want to have a plan in place so you don’t get bored.
What have I learned through the years?
As we get older, we do get wiser. Some of the things I have brought along with me as a mature adult was that I know I am not alone. If I feel lost, I have support from this community and don’t feel alone. We can’t stop all our pain, but let’s try and manage it.
I have had psoriatic disease for 60 years. Guess what, this illness has made me stronger. But don’t forget to focus on your quality of life. What I mean by this is to manage your physical activities as well. I lost 60 pounds by walking daily and I look good.
Keep a strong bond with people. I have made some lifelong friends who share this illness with me. We are not alone.
This or That
Do you know what type(s) of psoriatic arthritis you have?
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