Why No One Gets Your Psoriatic Arthritis Life
Last updated: August 2020
My life with psoriatic arthritis is like no other. Neither is yours! Yet day after day, we see people comparing their lives with this debilitating illness and walking away confused as to why they aren’t having the same experience.
Having the same diagnosis does not mean that we will all have the same symptoms, pains, or experiences, and here is why!
More to the story
In my 20+ year journey with painful chronic illnesses, I have rarely met anyone with just one diagnosis. One in three people with psoriasis also has psoriatic arthritis. Some have other combinations include fibromyalgia, endometriosis, diabetes, Ehlers-danlos disease, migraines, or epilepsy, to name a few.
I have fibromyalgia, endometriosis, psoriasis, migraines, and surgical errors in addition to psoriatic arthritis. This makes my journey totally different than someone who has diabetes and psoriatic arthritis.
The complexity of life with psoriatic arthritis
There are five types of psoriatic arthritis.1 That means that even those with no other diagnosis will experience varying symptoms and pain. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, each person may have multiple forms of psoriatic arthritis. Personally, I have three.
The five types are:1
- Asymmetric typically affects one side of the body and includes swelling and discomfort in the toes, fingers, hips, and knees.
- Symmetric is similar to Asymmetric with the exception that it affects both sides.
- Spondylitis is caused by inflammation between the vertebrae and causes pain and swelling in the back and neck along with hips, feet, and hands.
- Distal affects the tips of fingers and toes and is often confused with osteoarthritis.
- Arthritis mutilans causes damage to the ends of hands and feet. It may also shorten the length of a person’s toes and fingers because of bone loss.
Learning from each other’s lives with psoriatic arthritis
As you can see, the odds of meeting someone with the exact same diagnosis is like finding a needle in a haystack. With that said, this doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from each other. We can still find comfort in knowing that we aren’t alone and could possibly pick up some tips to improve our own journey.
The most important thing we can learn from each other is to have compassion. Some people respond well to pharmaceutical medications, while others don’t. Others may be willing to put up with treatment side effects, while others prefer to avoid them. There is no right or wrong way to treat this chronic illness, but there are many wrong ways to treat a fellow psoriatic arthritis warrior. No one should be talked down to just because they choose to treat their illness differently. Your journey will differ from mine and that’s okay.
The next time family and friends tell you that they don’t understand why your experience is different than Karen's, remind them of all the variables and confidently remind them that you are not her!
How is your life different from others with psoriatic arthritis? Share in the comments below!
Do you have any questions about PsA?