I have no idea how many people will read this. Or how many people will start to read it and fall asleep half way through. But sharing is good for the heart, so here we go.
Hi!! I’m Rebecca. I’m 28 years ago, and my body is slowly being destroyed by arthritis.
A little about me I suppose:
- I currently live in North East Scotland, but my heart wishes to be somewhere warmer!
- I work in the oil and gas industry (yawn) and I study Politics, Philosophy and Economics part time
- Disney fanatic
- Book worm
- Make up and beauty addict
- Mom to a beautiful 6 year old cat, Fluffy McMittens
- I love to run
- Psoriasis for 13 years
- Psoriatic Arthritis since April 2016
- I have the most incredible boyfriend of nearly 5 years, the perfect younger sister and a Mum who inspires me every single day. I have the ultimate support system filled with love, laughter and cuddles.
6 months ago I was incredible fit, active and healthy. I was training hard towards my first half marathon and everything was going brilliantly. On Sunday 3rd April, I ran a personal best 10k. On Sunday 10th April I ran my first ever 10 mile race. On Saturday 23rd April, I ran a Parkrun 5k personal best.
Then it all went wrong.
I noticed that I had a pain in one of my left toes. In typically British style, I was very dismissive of the pain. Maybe I’ve stubbed it. Maybe I’ve dropped something on it. It’ll get better, nothing to worry about. Only it didn’t get better, and 3 weeks later I noticed it had swollen so much it had doubled in size.
My GP didn’t know what was going on. I was tested for everything from gout to lupus. I was sent to A&E for x-rays numerous times and nothing showed up. I was accused of time wasting, told there was nothing wrong with me apart from (and this is a direct quote from a hospital consultant) “a sausage toe. You just have a jumbo sausage for a toe”. By June my entire left foot was causing me agony. My left knee and right ankle had both started to swell, my hips would seize up after only a few minutes of inactivity and I struggled to walk. I was exhausted. I was in my doctors almost every other day, tearfully begging them to help me. It was late June when my Doctor told me that it was looking very likely that I was suffering from psoriatic arthritis. I’ve suffered from psoriasis for almost 20 years so it wasn’t a surprise. When I was officially diagnosed in August it felt like a weight had been lifted.
What is psoriatic arthritis? In a nutshell, it’s very annoying. It’s an inflammatory form of arthritis that can be both disabling and debilitating. A slightly more official description can be found here: http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/psoriatic-arthritis.aspx
It’s been a hard year. I’ve gone from being a very fit and active runner, to struggling to get out of bed some mornings. I often find myself lacking the energy to do even the simplest of tasks. I’ve forgotten what I look like with brushed hair. I have gone on to suffer from extreme swelling in my entire left leg, which left me unable to move and requiring urgent injections directly into the joints (p.s NOT PLEASANT). During my worst flare ups, I needed help to get dressed and brushing my teeth felt like the most exhausting task in the world. I’ve become incredibly good at taking naps. Whilst PsA can never be cured, it can be managed. I take a weekly dosage of low chemotherapy (methotrexate) to suppress my immune system and keep the inflammation at bay. It’s rough, but it’s gotta be done.
I hope to start running again. I have a place to run the London Marathon in April 2017 (my first marathon, EEEEEEKKKKKKKK!!) and I’m going to try my best to be able to complete the race because I don’t take my current mobility for granted.
I write this blog post, and hopefully many others, to share my experiences of living with psoriatic arthritis and chronic auto immune disease generally, to give a glimpse into how life can still be enjoyed, and also to try and connect with some of you going through the same troubles.