I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in October 2009. For years I have had problems with swollen joints, I visited my doctor several times explaining the joint that was swollen at that point. I went through several blood tests and x-rays but nothing was pin-pointed and so the doctors did nothing.
I had been told that drinking cola could affect joints so I swore off this, I went away on holiday for a week in June 2008 I was still drinking other fizzy drinks but by the end of the holiday I could hardly walk so I just thought it was all fizzy drinks and so decided to keep off these this seemed to work so I thought nothing else of it.
In August 2008 I moved home and so had to change doctors. My joints at this point were fine, I had still some swollen toes but as they did not hurt I thought nothing of it.
Then in June 2009 I went away on holiday, I don't know if heat has something to do with it but my ring finger became swollen and very painful, a few nights I ended up in tears. I rang and made an appointment with the doctor whilst I was still away. A few days after I got home I went to my appointment, I explained everything that had ever swollen and what my previous doctor had done.
My new doctor decided to start from the beginning so again it was blood tests and x-rays, these all again showed nothing. In the time I was going through all this my left knee also became swollen and painful. However this time the doctor decided to refer me to a rheumatologist, I waited 6 weeks for my appointment.
I went in and explained all the joints that had swollen, the rheumatologist asked if I had any other medical conditions, I told him I had psoriasis on my scalp; the minute I said that he told me he knew what I had. He gave me leaflets and explained the medication I was to start on.
I realised that the diagnosis made perfect sense, when I first went to the doctors at 18 years of age for a diagnosis on what the scales on my scalp were I also went for a swollen toe. I was told I had psoriasis on my scalp and that the toe was just an inflammation virus and that I was to take Ibuprofen. This I now realise was probably the first sign of psoriatic arthritis.
I have now been on sulfasalazine for five months. I have reacted well with the medication and feel so much better than I did before. I still have bad days with my joints particularly with my knee but these are becoming few and far between.
I know that this will never go away but I know how to deal with it. My future seems a lot brighter now I know what is wrong with me.