My Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Expectations and How They Have Changed
I will never forget the day I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. On one hand, I was surprised to have been diagnosed with yet another chronic illness so quickly after receiving my diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
On the other hand, I was thrilled to have answers that my first diagnosis did not answer. After trying several treatments for fibromyalgia that ended with allergic reactions or that failed to improve my pain or symptoms, I was desperate for something better.
Bursting my psoriatic bubble
I remember having a moment of hope that my psoriatic arthritis would have a treatment that relieved pain better than that of what I had tried for fibromyalgia.
My bubble of hope burst quickly when my rheumatologist told me that at that time, the best he could do for me was help me manage the pain. By the time pharmaceutical treatments became available, I had experienced more than my share of bad experiences, allergic reactions, and side-effects from numerous types of medications.
It turns out that I am one of those rare people who either suffer the worst side-effects, is allergic to or experiences the opposite effect from most pharmaceutical medications. My hopes of my doctor prescribing something for pain-relief or reduced symptoms were crushed.
Setting realistic expectations
The first ten years of my psoriatic arthritis life were bleak. I had to accept that the best my doctor could do was monitor my illness. This was no easy task, especially after my body’s tolerance for pain medication vanished. Hives and throat inflammation were not worth any amount of pain relief.
I then turned to natural and alternative forms of pain relief. Thankfully, access to new and previously inaccessible forms of pain-relief was at my fingertips.
With the terrifying experiences of past treatment reactions looming in the back of my mind, I adjusted my expectations before trying them. While pain-relief was my long-term goal, at that moment the only thing I wanted was to NOT have an allergic or negative reaction.
Deciding what pain relief looks like
I have been fortunate that in the past eight years, I have found ways to alleviate pain from psoriatic arthritis without allergic reactions or unwanted side-effects. But, as with pharmaceutical medications, I tread cautiously knowing that at any time my body’s tolerance could change and an allergic reaction could occur at any moment.
Any amount of pain-relief is welcome. I have been amazed by the impact of relieving what I thought of as a minor or insignificant pain could have on my overall pain level.
I have also learned to be patient. While some symptoms were relieved quickly, others took longer. There was one area of pain that took four months of treatments before I began noticing a reduction of pain.
Have your expectations change?
Until a cure is discovered, I will consider any treatment that provides even a little bit of improvement to be successful. Some may consider my expectations low, but for me, they are exactly right where they need to be.
What are your treatment expectations, and have they changed since your diagnosis?
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?