A Success Story: My Psoriatic Arthritis Journey
In my early 20’s, I started having generalized joint pain requiring anti-inflammatory drugs. I was on a succession of different therapies many of which have now been recalled.
Through the years I started having psoriatic plaques on my legs, arms, and hands. The worst was my hands… as a nurse I wash my hands constantly. My hands would have cracked areas that would leave me open to infection, even though I wear gloves with all patient contact. I have used buckets of hand cream, steroid creams, and lotions.
Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and treatment complications
Fifteen years ago I started seeing a rheumatologist and I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I was hesitant to start on immunosuppressant therapy due to my constant exposure to a variety of infectious diseases. Ten years ago, I required open-heart surgery to replace two damaged arteries. I also had kidney damage no doubt related to many years of anti-inflammatory medication. The doctors stopped all my anti-inflammatory meds and started me on narcotics to control the pain, a lesser evil. I was medically disabled and had to retire at 57 years old.
Have you retired from work earlier than expected due to PsA?
Positive treatment results
Two years ago, I began seeing a rheumatologist in Nashville and I agreed to start on immunosuppressive meds with the goal of getting off of the narcotics. My first injectable drug therapy made a tremendous improvement such that I was able to get off the narcotics in the first six weeks. I was not able to afford the medication and depended on patient assistance programs.
My initial drug supply was stopped after six months. Two other injectable meds were trialed, but my condition worsened, and had to go back on narcotics. The last med (my fourth) has been effective and I have again been able to be off the narcotics. I have improved so much that after being retired for nearly ten years, I am back to work full-time plus overtime doing private duty nursing for the uranium industry employees affected by their exposure. I am grateful for my recovery and thank God for my miraculous recovery and the ability to return to work.
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