It was early January 2014 when I began getting constant aches and pains. That is just what I thought they were. I had been extremely busy over the christmas period working full time hours at a store in town as well as studying at university. It's hard work lifting tons of boxes all day and running round like a headless chicken so I put my aches and pains in my joints to over doing it at work and expected to feel my normal self in a few weeks during the long not so busy month of January.
Rather then feeling any better I started to feel worse... The aches and pain in my joints were more severe, my muscles were aching and stiffening I had a constant sore throat I was suffering from extreme tiredness. Maybe I'm just feeling under the weather and I've got a cold coming on I told myself. As the days/weeks went on I knew there was something not right. 'It might be arthritis' my dad joked. I laughed it off, I'm 21 I said. My dad's words began to play on my mind, I booked an appointment at my GP.
The Doctor I saw I wasn't impressed with and came out of my GP feeling extremely frustrated. He told me he thought it would be a virus and to continue taking ibruprofen for another week and if no better to come back. At this point I already had been taking ibruprofen for well over a month which I told him so in my eyes taking it for another week wasn't going to go much. A week past... The pain was still getting worse, my hands were so sore and swollen and I couldn't even remember the last time I had a decent sleep. I was exhausted.
I returned to my GP a week later and asked to see a different Doctor. He listened to every word I said and found it unacceptable for me to be feeling how I was at my age. He talked me through the possibility of arthritis and arranged for blood tests to be carried out. At last I felt a glimmer of hope that someone wanted to help me. I booked for my bloods which I was going to have to wait another three weeks for... Frustration set in again. Nevertheless I carried on with my daily routine of attending Uni and work. It was one night when I came home from work at around 9pm I burst into tears to my mum. I was mentally and exhausted, in severe pain and actually depressed. Things I could once do so easily I now couldn't and simple everyday things such as putting tooth paste on my tooth brush I couldn't do my hands were so swollen sore and claw like. Getting up from sitting down even took it out of me due to the joints in my knees being so sore and all my muscles from my shoulders to my lower back being extremely stiff.
Two days later the house was empty parents had gone to work and I was just about to get up out of bet yet I couldn't. I couldn't move at all using all my strength I eventually got out of bed after around 15 mins I went to work so I wasn't alone in the house endured the shift but I knew this was it I've finally ran myself into the ground and couldn't cope anymore. The next morning my parents took me to hospital where I was given tramadol for the pain and my blood tests rushed through. I went to my GP the following day for the results they showed nothing... I couldn't believe it. I'm so ill though I thought they have to show something.
My GP took my word he knew something wasn't right with me and referred me to a rheumatologist anyway. Eventually more blood tests did show arthritis and my rheumatologist diagnosed me with psoriatic arthritis due to the symptoms I endured even though no one had actually diagnosed me with psoriasis. I had a very sensitive rash all over my hands though no one seemed to know what it was. Over the past months however I do think I have developed some form of psoriasis and I am waiting to see my dermatologist for confirmation of this.
My rheumatologist has proscribed me sulphasalazine and and naproxen which seems to be doing the trick. I feel like my normal self again which I feared I never world. It has taken a good few months to get to this point but I've got here. I know I'm still going to have times when my arthritis does severely effect me but at least I know the signs now. I would like to state to people however who don't suffer from this cruel disease that it is an invisible one which is so frustrating for the likes of me who do suffer from it. Just because I look 'fine' and 'healthy' doesn't mean I am. If I say ' I'm tired' it's not just cause I'm a little sleepy, I am actually severely tired and exhausted and need some rest. If I don't want to meet up with people it's not because I'm being anti social but just because I'm feeling a little depressed or my joints are a bit tender.
Anyone reading my story who is suffering from psoriatic arthritis don't ever let it take over your life. Some days you may feel great others not so good so make the most of your good days. If there is anyone out there diagnosed with this at a very young age as I was you may feel old before your time when you are really bad... I honestly felt like I was like a 80 year old sometimes but it will get better and you will feel normal again one day.
Submitted by a 21 female living in England