The Different Looks of Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis is a complicated disease. It affects everyone differently. Sure, we may have some of the same symptoms, but our pain and limitations differ. For some it may end their career and turn their life upside down. Others may only need to make minor adjustments to their lives. There is no such thing as normal or average when it comes to living with PsA.
Numbers don’t matter
Some people only have PsA. Others also have psoriasis. Then there are those like myself who have multiple chronic illnesses. In addition to PsA I have psoriasis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and degenerative disc disease. Does this mean that my pain and struggle is worse than someone who only has PsA? Not at all!
Our bodies react differently to all of these wretched diseases. One chronic illness may incapacitate a person, while three of them may only slow another person down. Pain from PsA may be more prominent in one person’s feet, another’s hands, or in someone else’s spine. It is impossible to compare one person’s journey to another.
PsA isn’t always visible. There are people with this disease who never need to use a mobility aid, walk with a limp, or lose use of their hands. Again, this doesn’t mean that their journey is easier than someone who has to use a mobility aid. It just means that the areas of their body needed for walking, standing, writing, or sitting hasn’t either progressed to the point of becoming visible or aren’t affected at that time. It could also mean that they aren’t ready to accept their need for a mobility aid and are forcing themselves to appear as “normal” as possible.
PsA can often be seen when a person requires use of a cane, walker, or wheelchair. There are many different reasons we need to use one or more mobility devices throughout our lives. We may only be able to walk for short distances. Some of us are unable to stand for long periods of time. Many of us suffer from a lack of balance.
Not all of us who use a mobility aid use them full-time. I have experienced seasons in which I have had to use my wheelchair for every outing and a walker when I was at home. Lately, I have been using them both far less than I have in over 5 years and refer to myself as a part-time roller. The type of mobility device we use doesn’t always reflect our severity either. Other reasons for needing a mobility aid are fatigue and dizziness.
One thing we do have in common is that we are all fighting to live the best lives possible despite our diagnosis. Thankfully we live in a time where we have access to wonderful support in the form of encouragement and camaraderie with online forums like Psoriatic-Arthritis.com.
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