Psoriatic Arthritis: A Rude Awakening
About a month ago, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I have seen my family doctor for a while for symptoms that didn't last long and pains that could be mistaken for job-related issues like tennis elbow and an exercise injury on my hip.
Other symptoms were just bothersome that I ignored. That's one is totally on me.
The initial pains of psoriatic arthritis
A little over three months ago, on a weekend, I woke up with similar pains I had in the past, but it also felt like I got hit hard with a sack of rocks. After a few days, I went to my doctor and started to get some blood work.
We went through the basics, ruling out MS, lupus, and Lyme disease. As the pain got more intense I ended up going to the ER. Of course, they could only reduce the pain at the moment and send me home with recommendations to see a specialist.
Like most places, the wait to see a specialist was weeks ahead. I had kidney stones in the past and the back pain was just as intense. I had to go back to the ER again and again. The doctors there were good but they could only guess.
My diagnosis journey
I finally got to see my new rheumatologist. We did more extensive bloodwork trying to rule out the usual suspects, along with an MRI and ultrasound on my joints.
When the results came back, he gave me the news. At that point, the pain on my heels, ankles, toes, knuckles, neck, and wrists have been debilitating. The psoriasis part has been localized on my scalp and face.
The impact on work
I do labor work (or I should say I used to) for a small company. Since that weekend, I haven't been able to work. The pain, inability to concentrate, and fatigue have left me powerless. I used to work longer hours than most, hardly ever missing work.
The hardest part of it is that I learned a line of work that I can't do anymore. Even with the new medication. My grip to hold and apply force to my tools is gone. Carrying them from one service call to the next is just out of the question, not including the materials needed for that particular job.
Like most medications, it takes a while to see any improvement. At this moment I'm trying to find a new line of work but not having support is stressful. Trying to figure out what to do financially and medical treatments that can empty my savings have left me guessing what should I do next. I'm almost 50 and the rude awakening that my life has changed so quickly is mind-numbing.
Can you exercise with your PsA symptoms?