I had a moment of realization this morning. I don’t KNOW that I have psoriatic arthritis yet. I’m clinging to this diagnosis, yet I haven’t seen my xrays. I haven’t seen the blood tests. Who knows what they say? I know something’s wrong. I know it’s not all in my head. But there are so many things it might be.
Let’s lay out, 100% what we know about me.
1) I have psoriasis. My elbows and feet are flaky, itchy, painful, masses of skin problems. I’ve had psoriasis for as long as I can remember. FOREVER.
2) My hands hurt. My hands hurt every morning when I wake up. It takes an hour of slowly moving my fingers to be able to get up and brush my teeth and hair. To get dressed. Sometimes I can’t handle buttons or zippers at all. Some days my husband has to open doors for me – not because he’s a gentleman, but because I can’t turn the knob on my own. Sad but true: I didn’t quit smoking to be healthier. Or to save money. I quit because I couldn’t consistently use a lighter or matches and holding something so narrow hurt my joints.
3) I have hyper-mobility syndrome. Every joint in my body extends past the normal set-point. This is partially why no one believes how much I hurt… my joints are still moving in the normal range of motion! But, doctor, they used to move MORE. Apparently that’s not enough.
What I know, 100%, is that I hurt. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. Movement is good – to a point. Resting too long makes my joints stiff. I’m finding myself more frequently getting feverish without being sick. In general, my temperature is higher than it used to be. The shapes of my joints are changing. The color of my skin changes with the level of inflammation. When I hurt, my hands swell to twice their size or worse. My fingers look disgusting.
So, what’s wrong with me Doc?
I’m clinging to psoriatic arthritis because even though it’s life-long pain, there are treatments. It could get better. At the very least, it could stop getting worse. That’s all I’m asking for now – that today’s pain is the worst it is going to get.