After having suffered for several months from what my unsympathetic doctor called 'chilblains' in my blue sausage-shaped toes, apart from the fact that I could only walk with difficulty and had a large patch of psoriasis on one of my legs, I was diagnosed as having psoriatic arthritis.
I started a course of hydrotherapy and wax treatments to my hands - which, incidentally, did nothing to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, but made me feel so pampered! At work colleagues were totally unsympathetic and, in the end I decided to stop going, which meant that I had to stop the medication.
Luckily, I seemed to be in 'recession' at the time and went to a Chinese acupuncturist and herbalist in London for several treatments, which were wonderfully relaxing.
I changed my job and moved abroad and lived in, but the chefs' idea of what constituted a vegetarian diet was not mine.
Eventually I was able to move out into a flat in a local village. There was no flare-up of the arthritis or psoriasis at all until one morning when I woke up stiff and in acute pain.
I ended up in the local hospital and spent ten days there whilst they got my ESR rate down from over 70 and from then on I was carefully monitored and regularly saw a consultant rheumatologist. All this time I had been on a combination of NSAIDs, which seemed to be working.
It’s not all has been gloom and doom. I still work and I have a range of interests which I pursue. All this came out of despair and sickness and I would never have had the time had I still been working full time.