Living With Psoriatic Arthritis: Family Support & Treatment Journey
Hi, I’m Pat and I have PsA. I was diagnosed with RA in 1968, I was 18 years old. I left the doctor's office and cried on the 15-minute walk to the subway. I said to myself oh well and pretty much tried to ignore the diagnosis. I told my parents I’m fine and went on with my life. I had a life to live and live I did. I got married, moved from New York to Texas. Six months later, it all came crashing down. I developed a rash on my knee and elbows. I was in the process of getting my degree. I found a doctor and his diagnosis was PsA. It was 1977. My life changed. He did blood work and told me I was very sick. He prescribed medication and the journey began. I didn’t want this disease.
Starting a family with psoriatic arthritis
We worked together trying to find the right medication for me. In the meantime, through all the many hospital stays, I got my degree. We finally found a med that was working. Well, I discussed it with my husband and decided we would start a family. The doctor agreed. It took a year before I got off all the meds. The pregnancy went great. We had a healthy beautiful baby boy.
I had exactly 12 months to the day I became pregnant the PsA would return and return it did. I thought well I’ll go back on my meds and it will be fine. Wrong. The meds weren’t working as well as before. I pushed on, but my career had to go. It was difficult. PsA is a monster. I tried so many meds nothing was working. Anyway, we decided to have another baby.
Living with comorbidities
PsA went into remission, but this time it was different. I was raising a toddler. I gave birth to another healthy baby boy. My doctor said no more kids, the pregnancy took a toll on my body. It's been good, but it's been very difficult. Both my hips and knees have been replaced. 1992, 93, and 97. I’ve had a heart attack, cancer, broken bones. PsA has taken its toll. It wasn’t until 2000, I started a DMARD, it worked very well. Lasted a few years, had problems, was taken off.
Life after COVID
Started Enbrel, took a year to work, but it has been good. My last shot was April 13, 2020. On April 14th, I became infected with COVID. I thought that would be the end, but I survived. It did damage, but I’m still standing. Over the years, I read everything about this disease. I’ve taken vitamins, learned what foods I can and can’t eat. For me, food plays a great part in how I feel. I must say, I have been very fortunate my husband and two wonderful sons have always been there for me. I am very fortunate and thankful. I say this because my sons never knew me with my health. When you get an illness it doesn’t just affect you, it affects the family. I have had good doctors, it's very important they listen. I made it to my 70th birthday somewhat broken but I’m still standing. Listen to your body and find a good doctor. Find what works for you. Be safe.
How do you plan to recognize PsA Awareness Month?