Living with an Autoimmune disease – Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis ( PsA)

Psoriasis is a skin disease. But about 30% of people with psoriasis also develop a form of inflammatory arthritis psoriatic arthritis (PsA). PsA is an autoimmune disease, meaning it occurs then the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, in this case the joints and skin.” Excerpt from http://www.arthritis.org>about-arthritis>types

Hi, yep so this is me, I used to make jokes as a kid about Arthritic Annie down the road who always used to rub her bent fingers and say “it’s going to rain soon, I can feel it in my bones”, Little did I know, I would be facing that same hand rubbing in my future. My first ‘pains’ began when I was about 25 yrs old, and it was in my right knee. I went back and forth to see different GP’s for about two years, with all of them looking at me like I was a time waster ( we’ve all been there right?) and feeding me the “Oh It looks like a bit of tendonitis” crap and prescribing the usual Ibuprofen, paracetamol and ‘bugger off while I treat some real patients’.

My ‘Hallelujah’ moment came when I was 27, I had just passed my practical driving test ‘go me, better late than never ehy’, and my instructor had dropped me at our new local GP’s surgery for yet another appointment, I fully expected to go in and regale him with my sob story of how I was in constant pain ( in both knees by now) just for him tell me the usual, complete with rolling eyes and clock watching, and although he was very nice, that’s how the appointment began. It was only a fleeting question as I stood up to leave, that quite literally changed my life.

As I stood up I said “Oh just quickly before I leave, can I get your advise?, I have some scaly patches on my scalp that really itch and bleed sometimes if I scratch them, do I need a medicated shampoo?” He honestly looked as though I had just switched on the metaphoric lightbulb above his head. He had a look through my hair, a very thorough look and asked if I had these patches anywhere else, I said I didn’t and then he asked me to sit back down.

“I think you may have a condition called Psoriatic arthritis“… Joints commonly affected

I had never heard of it or even psoriasis for that matter, as he explained to me that the patches on my scalp were exactly that, and that I may be among the 30% of people who develop the arthritis that can go along with that. So to cut a very long story, a little shorter, what followed was months of waiting to see a specialist (standard), an official diagnosis and then the start of the medication (Diclofenac Sodium, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that was to impact my fertility ( that’s a whole other blog post) in a way that brought years of struggle for my husband and I.

Over the following years I had periods of relapse and remission and that was my life, only seeing a GP to get a repeat prescription every few months, this went on until I stopped all meds in a  desperate last-ditch attempt to get pregnant with our ‘longed for’ second child ( kid 1 was 9 by then, but again that’s another story), after we successfully conceived and birthed our 2nd daughter I was warned that I may relapse quite badly, as pregnancy hormones can hold back and improve the PsA symptoms ( they do It was an amazing pain-free pregnancy). It was when I finished breast-feeding that the pain came creeping back, and **** me it came back with a vengeance, ‘think Bruce Willis-Die Hard’. It was bad… and along with the new baby induced sleepless nights, I was a mess. I literally crawled through the next two yrs trialling new meds, feeling lost and being so aware that my poor husband had to listen to me CONSTANTLY complain about the pain, which was now all over my body.

I then made some changes regarding what I put in my body after reading about Ella Woodward aka Deliciously Ella, and how she overcame her debilitating illness by changing to a plant-based diet,ella woodward and this worked so well that I was able to come off of all meds and pain relief , I was enjoying life pain-free for the first time in so many years, it was amazing. But sadly my poor diet of chocolate and cake made its way back after I indulged in my addiction at a birthday party, sugar is a **** ( insert expletive here) like that, and the pain began again.

So here we are in the present… I have had a year of possibly the worst pain so far, and my current meds ‘Celecoxib another NSAID’ are no longer working well enough and I am relying on Co-Codamol to get through the day and complete the simplest of tasks,      I have an appointment next week with my Consultant Rheumatologist ( If she doesn’t cancel again) to discuss options for the future. As I know I will be offered stronger medication, and I would love to avoid that if I can, I have once again made the drastic changes to my diet and lifestyle, I am hoping that it will work for me again and I wont be a total tosspot and give in to sugar again and sabotage it all.

Thanks for getting to the end of this epic ramble, PsA is a horrible condition that few people have heard of, but can impact your whole life, here are a few websites I have found useful whist battling with this autoimmune disease.

http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org

http://www.psoriatic-arthritis.co.uk

http://www.nhs.uk

Thanks again for allowing me to share this with you.

Chat soon

T xx

 

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