Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day before my next Doctor's appointment

It is 4:26 AM Sunday. I have an appointment with my Rheumatologist on Monday morning. The few days before appointments are always rough on me for some reason. But, before i get ahead of myself let me explain why I see a Rheumatologist. I have a disease called psoriatic arthritis. It is a sometimes debilitating Auto- Immune disease that affects the joints and skin, including fingernails. The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com) offers this definition:
Definition

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints of children and adults with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes patches of thick, red skin to form on certain areas of your body. Not everyone with psoriasis develops psoriatic arthritis, but everyone with psoriatic arthritis has psoriasis.

Most people develop the skin signs of psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Joint pain in people with psoriatic arthritis can range from mild to severe. Many experience changing signs and symptoms as the disease continues.

Many definitions of psoriatic arthritis exist, which makes it hard to estimate how many people have the disease. About 10 percent to 15 percent of people with psoriasis eventually develop psoriatic arthritis. While no cure for psoriatic arthritis exists, doctors work to control your signs and symptoms and prevent damage to your joints.

I myself did develop signs/ symptoms of psoriasis affecting my skin about two and a half years before I developed any signs or symptoms of psoriatic arthritis affecting my joints. When I first got psoriasis on my skin it was minimal; just a few small patches on my forehead, and my scalp were affected. But it was still humiliating when people noticed these bright, red, scaly, spots on my forehead. My father spent a lot of money he didn't have to take me to a dermatologist who gave me prescriptions for creams and solutions that Dad had to spend even more money on that he didn't have.
My father was genuinely compassionate and I could tell he felt really sorry for me, but I also sensed I embarrassed him.(This would later become a trend amongst my loved ones.) I was 17 years old, and while it is hard for all 17 year old to fit in, it was extremely hard when i felt like a leper. My parents were going through a divorce during this time so it was really stressful, and stress does aggravate psoriasis. One person who always made me feel better was my aunt Eva. She used to scratch my scalp and help me wash it good when it would get really bad. I lived with her for almost a year before i turned 18 due to the family problems. Aunt Eva passed away in 2006, and it sounds crazy, but one of my fondest memories of her are of her scratching my scalp and us just talking and being close like we were. She never judged or acted above me. When I was 18, getting ready to turn 19 I met Tommy who is now my husband. I will never forget the first time he noticed the red patches on my forehead. He stopped by to visit me, before I could put the makeup on that I usually wore to cover the psoriasis. I had just gotten out of the shower and when I showered the water usually made the redness a lot worse. So it was pretty bad. Tommy, never seeing anything like this before in his life, said,"Oh my God", what happened to you?" He thought I had burnt myself badly with a curling iron. I was so hurt and embarrassed. I got upset with him for saying it like that, but later I realized that I would have probably reacted the same way seeing something like that. When I explained to him what it was he calmed down a bit. A month or 2 later I was pregnant. Something strange happened when I got pregnant. My psoriasis disappeared. I felt so free. Not having to put makeup on as soon as I woken up or showered. Later I would find out that as a result of my pregnancy (pregnancy is a shock, a traumatic event to the body and any stressful situation can cause the disease to flare up) the psoriasis would develop even more and awaken the psoriatic arthritis that until that point had been dormant in my body. So for nine months I was psoriasis free. After my beautiful daughter Brittney was born I didn't have much psoriasis, but it did eventually start creeping its way back into my life. Britt was born in April. In May I started having aches and pains in my back and joints. I saw a number of doctors, one who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. As things worsened and doctors didn't have many answers for me, I had the sinking suspicion that they were missing something. I guess since my psoriasis wasn't that bad they weren't able to put 2 and 2 together. In 2003, I was finally diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. Since then I have been on several different biological treatments(Enbrel, Humira, MTX,) celebrex, prednisone, a variety of meds for pain, and haven't found anything yet that controls my symptoms. Right now we are using things to help me deal with the symptoms. I take 1-2 every 4 hours of 30mg Morphine IR. I am on a daily dosage of 15mg of prednisone and 35mg of methotrexate weekly. So, I go to the doctor in the morning. Wish me well. It took me all day Sunday and off and on Sunday night, and into early morning Monday to write this because of pain, and our electric went out briefly so I had no internet connection.
Until Tomorrow!!! God Bless, Peace and Love- Tress

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