I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in July 2010. My husband and I had just returned to the UK after living in France for 8 years. I had recently given birth to my youngest son and it was during my pregnancy that the pain started in my left wrist. It grew steadily worse until, by the time my baby was born in February 2010, I could barely lift him. I went to the doctor in France who told me it was tendonitis and advised me to wear a wrist support and take paracetamol for the pain.
I struggled on until we made the move back to the UK in May 2010. It was then that the problem appeared to spread to the tendons in my right ankle. Literally overnight, I couldn’t walk and developed a rather fetching limp. Quickly my right index finger joined in too, swelling to twice its normal size. I took myself off to the doctor again and decided, while I was there, I would see if I could get something for the dermatitis (as diagnosed by the doctor in France) on my scalp which had recently grown from a small patch, to covering at least a third of my head. At this point, the connection was made between what I found out was Psoriasis on my scalp and the problems in my joints and I was referred to a Rheumatologist.
Naturally, I went home and googled Psoriatic Arthritis and was instantly convinced that my life was over and I was going to be in a wheelchair before I hit 40. In fairness to me, I had also begun to have dull pain in my right elbow, my left knee, both shoulders and the base of my spine. The PSA was spreading extremely rapidly throughout my body. I was terrified. Already, I was having serious trouble lifting the kids. I couldn’t run after them, it was all I could do to dress them. Just getting out of bed in the mornings was tough enough. And as for the horses. I couldn’t even groom them or lift a saddle high enough to tack them up. So, for me, my life effectively was over – if I couldn’t enjoy my children or my horses, what else was there for me ……?
Thankfully, that is not the end of the story and it certainly was not the end of my life. My Rheumatologist was an incredibly laid back man who had this amazing capacity to make you feel like nothing was a problem and everything could be fixed. He started me on Methotrexate and, although it took a while to kick in, it finally started to help with my condition. I am currently on the maximum dose and have much of my mobility back although pain is something I still live with on a daily basis. Incidentally, I am talking about my Rheumy in the past tense as I have now moved from the North of England to the South and am currently awaiting referral to a new Rheumy. I will miss the old one ….
So how are things at the moment? Better, but by no means under control. Although my mobility is improved I still have a great deal of pain and swelling in my joints and so I know that the PSA is still active and will continue to attack my body as and when it feels like it. I know that more drugs are inevitable, but don’t know which ones or when. I just take each day as it comes at the moment ….
Am I still frightened? Sometimes, yes. Will I keep on fighting? Absolutely.