Friends In My Life
I was 40 when they diagnosed me, the first symptom that I had Dactylitis (sausage fingers) which affected my foot toes. My hands were always sore. Five years from my diagnosis I can barely work. Initially when my symptoms started my doctor ordered blood work looking for Gout or Rheumatoid arthritis.
Many people with psoriatic arthritis already know it takes a while to get diagnosed and my case wasn’t any different. Both tests were negative and he sent me home with medication to relieve pain and swelling and attributed my symptoms to aging.
After a few weeks of agony, I decided to visit a podiatrist who ran some tests but there was nothing, she had a hunch and sent me to a rheumatologist an arthritis specialist. At this point, I was developing rashes that would turn into blisters then break and dry up causing the skin on my hands to crack and it was agonizing.
The rheumatologist after a full body examination and many tests concluded that I had arthritis. He started me on treatment but the rash wouldn’t go away.
After a more thorough examination especially on my fingernails which showed signs of pitting and separation from their nail beds, symptoms common with psoriasis arthritis patients, he then diagnosed me with psoriasis arthritis.
Since I have another preexisting condition I can’t take biologics. I take methotrexate which when compared to before has done a good job of giving me control over psoriatic arthritis. But I still have,
· Degenerative disk disease
· sacroiliac joint involvement (pelvic joint)
I started having problems with little activities such as buttoning my shirts and opening jars. A friend I had confided in hoping to get some information and works at a GP surgery noticed a man about my age with the same symptoms.
After some consultations with my friend’s colleague, I was advised to see a rheumatologist. After some tests, I was diagnosed with psoriasis arthritis and I started using methotrexate. Psoriasis on my scalp disappeared altogether and since I couldn’t visit my barber before I went and got a haircut.
My joint problems persisted and I have been prescribed another drug adalimumab. The drug really improved my condition and the joint inflammation gradually subsided. As I got better I joined a running club and started jogging mostly to keep my joints moving.
The running really helped me because I met other people who ran for the same reasons that I did. It helped me take the pressure off my joints because I lost weight. Psoriatic arthritis mimics symptoms of other conditions such as gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. I was lucky I got diagnosed early.