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The future and it's looking a lot brighter and pain free

As a child I had fairly severe psoriasis. I am 47 now and back then, the main treatments were steroid creams and cold tar ointment thankfully I went through puberty and it seem to disappear and I thought that was then end of it.

I carried on regardless in life until my late 30s and I had this mysterious swelling happening in my right knee. It was extremely painful and I could barely walk on it. I took a couple of days off work and rested and it seemed to disappear. But then it happened again in my left knee a few months later.So I trotted off to the doctor, he seemed to think it may have been the beginnings of osteoarthritis and I was handed some anti inflammatories and some painkillers and off I trotted. It cleared up after a few days and all seemed well.

Couple of years later, swelling started in my ankles and pain, really awful pain.In fact it was so sore and swollen I thought i had broken it somehow and went to A and E. The doc their thought it was something arthritic. Off to GP again, told I had gout! So more aggressive anti inflammatories and pain killers. This kept repeating in different joints around my body until my late 40s, with me accepting it was just wear and tear and getting repeat scripts of pain killers and anti inflammatories. Until last summer. I had a really stressful beginning to my year and I kept getting repeated swelling in my eyes and was told it was eczema. Round about the beginning of May last year, I had multiple swelling of all my joints.

Pain that was so awful I can't describe it. I was unable to walk or do most things and was living from painkiller to painkiller. Taking anti inflammatories and waiting and hoping for it to die down like it had before. But I thought to myself, this has been going on for ten bloody years. This is not right, even my toes were starting to swell and it just seemed there was going to be no end to the pain. I felt so out of my head on codeine,it was just not living and it had been at a severe level for 5 months. So I changed GPs and told the same story and said that no one had ever given me a proper diagnosis. I was always told it could be this or it could be that.  Nothing  definite. So she took some bloods and asked about my psoriasis. It was the first time anyone had mentioned that there was an arthritic condition that could be linked to it.

That started me off on the road to looking online. And it all fit. The joint pain, the swollen eyes, the swollen toes. My bloods indicated that I had some kind of inflammatory process happening but there was no evidence to say it was rheumatoid arthritis. I was then referred to a rheumatologist and she took 5 mins to diagnosed something that had been bothering me for ten years!!! I burst out crying, I know it sounds daft but I finally knew what was wrong. I am still not there. I have pain in about 7 joints but it's manageable, I am in the early stages of taking one of the DMARD drugs and its taking a long long time to work. But it's not flared up to the point of me being unable to function, which is good. I know why I am so exhausted all the time and I have had no swelling in my eyes, my toes are back to normal. I still get pain but it's manageable. I suppose I want to tell my story because I feel GPs need to be more aware of this condition. Maybe wouldn't have had to wait ten years for a proper diagnosis. I haven't laboured too much on what a negative impact it's had on me. But if I had been diagnosed sooner a lot of things in my life would have turned out more positively. But the past has gone and there is nothing to be done about it. Tonnes to be done about the future and it's looking a lot brighter and pain free :)

Submitted by a 47 year old female living in Scotland

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