How I Deal with Life.....

How I Deal with Life.....

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Message to You about Autoimmune Arthritis. Yes, YOU!

August is Psoriatic Arthritis Awareness Month.

I have been living with psoriatic arthritis (Psa) for fourteen years.  PsA involves way more than skin issues. And it is not just the "arthritis" that most people associate with wear and tear osteoarthritis. What I have is autoimmune. I was thirty-eight years old when I came down with PsA. It hit virtually overnight causing me to reevaluate how I proceeded in every aspect of my life.

PsA destroys joints, damages bone, causes excruciating, debilitating pain, limits activities, and invades every shadow of one's life. I have continued to teach full time and contribute as a meaningful member of society while battling this monster, but it has been difficult at best. I take a weekly injection of a biologic medication whose side effects include non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, respiratory disorders, and neurologic episodes. I also take weekly dosages of methotrexate- a medication that has a high risk for liver damage.  And a pill to make me sleep. And a pill to battle the chronic fatigue. And pills to address my chronically low B12 and Vit D levels.  I almost rattle when I walk.  I put myself at risk taking all these medications because I want to continue to contribute to society, I want to be useful, I want my life to have meaning.  I can't just stop and quit. I can't just give up all that I worked for in order to sit on my ass and moan. I will not do that.

If someone tells you they have autoimmune arthritis, remember it is not the "old person's" arthritis, so please don't even compare the two. My body is attacking itself. A person with psoriatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis spends most of their days in pain. They have no idea when they will have a "good" day or a "bad" day and the pain can hit out of nowhere within a matter of hours.  We also deal with chronic fatigue issues, plus, oftentimes, other autoimmune diseases (they do so love to band together). If we tell you we can't do something, we can't. It's not that we don't want to, we just can't, so don't pull the old, "But you were okay yesterday" trip on us. We might not have been okay, We learn to hide the pain rather well. We don't want pity, but we do want understanding. We can't just "get over it" or think ourselves well. It doesn't work that way.

 I am doing the best I can, and that is pretty damned excellent by anyone's standards.  I am Super Woman. So, fuck you, PsA. You don't get to take over my entire life just yet.