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The last thing I expected was psoriatic arthritis

I have suffered with psoriasis and eczema since birth. My psoriasis has flared up and down over the years and it's just something I've learnt to live with. I am now 39. I know it's something that will eventually disappear and move to another area. I have had just about every area, apart from my face affected over the years, including bad scalp plaque psoriasis, hands, feet, all creases of my body, spots ( tiny fluid filled ones all over my legs), these now appear in different areas depending on the weather and my stress levels!

I started with psoriasis of my finger and toe nails approx 10 years ago. I have had various treatments for all of the different types of psoriasis I have had ranging from moisturising creams, steroid creams through to methotrexate for my nail psoriasis.

Approx a year ago I started getting pains in different areas of my body, it started as a deep burning sensation in my upper thigh and then my shoulders were really sore, I also noticed that my lower back was excruciating at night and I was unable to get comfortable in bed. Then my right heel started causing problems, apparently, I have bursitis and tendonitis in the heel but I also have dactylitis (sausage toe) of my little toe, which causes me severe pain whilst walking and standing. I have been back and forth to my doctors since last September and eventually saw a rheumatologist last month who has diagnosed psoriatic arthritis.

I also saw a dermatologist and am now waiting for further appointments with both of them. ( I was discharged from dermatology a few years back after my last big flare up was getting better, and after a lifetime of dealing with psoriasis, I am a bit fed up with them constantly giving different creams and potions all the time! ) The last thing I expected was psoriatic arthritis. I didn't even know it existed!

I pushed the GP for blood tests to find out why I was feeling like I was, each time I went back to the doctors I felt like I was being a hypochondriac as I always seemed to have a new symptom or the pain had moved, but I have been seriously suffering and could not carry on with the way I was feeling. I work as a carer and was finding it extremely difficult to perform the daily tasks and I have been getting extremely tired too.

I have had to take time off sick from work as I am struggling with walking, this was due to just my right foot but in the last week my left foot has been very painful and my second toe(the one next to my big toe) has started to swell sausage like. I have been taking anti inflammatory and painkillers prescribed by my GP and rheumatologist for the pain, and I have an appointment next week to discuss further medication treatment, as I was told to discuss this with dermatology before I commenced any medication.

I have also been referred to see a podiatrist to help with my feet and my nails; by the way I do not have pitting of my nails. If I catch them on anything they lift and get a thickening underneath them, which starts in a small area and slowly covers the full nail, which will then sometimes fall off and a normal nail will grow back in its place. At any one time, I have normally, about 5 finger nails affected and about the same amount of toe nails.

I have learnt to live with it over the years, I used to be embarrassed about it but I realised I have no need to be, I have a condition that cannot be cured, and certainly cannot be helped.)

This is my lifelong story of psoriasis, at times, I feel depressed, but there is always someone worse than you are.

I find swimming helps, so I try to go a couple of times a week when I can manage to walk to the pool from the changing room! Some obstacles are tough but I try to think a bit outside the box and overcome them in a way that I can manage.

I have had to come to terms with the fact that the job that I have done since I was 16 will not be suitable for me going forward from here, as it is very physically demanding and there are no adjustments that can be put in place for me in, my current role.

I find waiting for appointments and treatments very frustrating, but I do try to get the best from my appointments when I have them by making sure all my questions are answered.

Submitted by a 39 old female living in Scotland

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