That’s what most people say when I tell them.
I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis (PSA) in January 2017. After a LOOONG few months of seeing all kinds of doctors, specialists, private and on the NHS. I was sick of rocking up to A&E as a last resort just to get turned away. ‘Go home, elevate your feet for a while you’ll be fine’.
What sparked the diagnosis? A telephone doctor was just as puzzled as everyone else I had seen in the 6 months before Jan ’17. As a last resort she asked if I happen to suffer from Psoriasis. Yep. I sure do just check out my head. Well that sparked a whole load of appointments wth various consultants. I hadn’t managed to get anywhere with the NHS, but luckily I pay for Heath Insurance through my darling workplace.. and so with that I was off to see a consultant specialist. After a few appointments and several consultants later I was fully diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis.
Psoriatic Arthritis is inflammation in and around your joints, suffered by a third of those 2% of the people who have Psoriasis. (I like to think that we’re kinda special!).
It’s not inflammation of the blood so it’s much harder to diagnose. But what is a big sign is inflammation of your toe or finger joints. In my case – I had two humongous ‘sausage toes’. (Hope you’re not hungry).
Check out my feet in this shot. I have it moreso in my left foot (see those mahoosive toes, white toenails and swollen foot/ankle) and a classic sausage toe on my right foot fourth toe.
I also had swelling in my hips and – following the worlds longest MRI scan, the start of PSA in my lower back at the top of my pelvis. Wonderful.
As much as I was gutted to hear what it was, I was more over the moon that I finally knew what was keeping me up all night in pain, what was stopping me from walking without a limp or in trainers, what was causing so much agony that I was this close to getting signed off work on long-term sick. Not something I think I could ever battle with again mentally as I had a period of around 3-4 months off work in 2013 with back problems. But hey that’s a story for another time!
In order to get me out of any sort of pain, I was sent off for some ultrasound-guided joint injections.
Now. Words CANNOT describe the pain these caused. I’ve had 5 in total and I cried with each and every one of them.
Let’s talk treatment…
I’d probably rattle if you shook me.
I was immediately put on a host of tablets including a daily dosage of omeprazole, naproxen and co-codomol.
On top of that, I’m on a form of Chemotherapy, Methotrexate. See, it’s an immune system disease so chemo suppresses my immune system to stop / reduce the overproduction of cells – on my joints (win) and on my skin, clearing my psoriasis (double win!).
My daily dosage on a Chemo Day…
Taking Chemo comes with all of those awful side affects… constant nausea, dizziness, headaches and little to no immune system defence. So I have to be extra careful around poorly people and making sure I don’t get sick.
I’m now in the brilliant hands of the consultants at Guy’s Hospital in London who have been looking at improved treatments – it’s been almost 9 months on taking the Methotrexate and I’m seeing no real improvement. Even my psoriasis is starting to come back on my sides, my ears and my head.
I’m due to try an anti-inflammatory biological drug called Humira – it involves injecting myself weekly and is a TNF-inhibiting drug that is supposed to help reduce the effects of severe PSA. I’ve been waiting since June, verryyyy patiently.
Fingers (and sausage toes) crossed…