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The Life I’ve Always Known

I was a typical toddler. I loved playing and running around outside. According to my mom (since I was so little) I woke up one morning and couldn’t straighten my right leg. I would cry and complain about pain and within an hour or so I was back to running around. This went on for a while before my mom thought “enough is enough”. One morning while I was still sleeping, she was already awake and decided to go into my room and straighten my leg. According to her, I screamed and cried. This freaked her out. And on to the pediatrician I went!

A starting point

I saw the pediatrician, who couldn’t seem to find anything wrong. The doctor recommended an orthopedist to see if there was something structurally wrong. After several X-rays, he determined nothing was wrong with me. I went back to the pediatrician since it kept happening. The doctor recommended a rheumatologist next to rule out anything autoimmune. My RA factor was negative, but I had a high sed rate indicating inflammation. According to my mom, even though he couldn’t prove it with labs, he was sure it was arthritis. Now, I have a family history of PsA. My mom’s first cousin has it. I had my first arthrocentesis at age 4 wide awake. It wasn’t pleasant and I still remember it.

Childhood symptoms

I don’t think I even started to comprehend my diagnosis until I was a teenager. There were always things I couldn’t do like the other kids did. I danced all my life even though I had pain. Ballet caused me the worst pain, but I loved it. My PsA diagnosis didn’t come until I was 15 years old when my psoriasis showed up out of nowhere. I saw the dermatologist who explained what it was. I was on the phone with the rheumatologist soon after who had his EUREKA moment. We finally had something definitive!

Grateful for support

I’ve had a lot of flare-ups in my 26 years since being diagnosed. It isn’t fun or easy, but my family is fantastic. My boyfriend of almost 10 years is extremely supportive also even if he doesn’t always understand. My dance studio worked with me and helped me through problems with my joints and restricted movements.

Staying strong with psoriatic arthritis

I’ve never not known this life. Would I wish it on anyone? No, not even my worst enemy but you know what? I wouldn’t wish it away either. I am who I am because of it. I am warrior strong. We have to be to survive this! We have to have the strength and courage to get up and face another day even though we are sure there is going to be pain and fatigue and a bunch of other unpleasant things. But this is who I am. And I’m okay with that. Self-love is so important with this condition and even though it’s hard, at the end of the day the sun always sets and always rises the next morning, and we all need the love and support of ourselves, our families and friends to see another day.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Psoriatic-Arthritis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Eileen B moderator
    3 months ago

    Thank you for reminding us of the power of acceptance, @jessb0430. When I read this line, “we all need the love and support of ourselves” my first thought was: I can’t believe I’ve never heard anyone say that before! You inspired a real lightbulb moment in me, and I have no doubt others will be helped by reading your story.

    Seems like you have the emotional/mental impact of PsA well under control, how are you doing physically? I hope you have a trusty rheumatologist working hard to keep your symptoms in check. -Eileen, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Team

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