Hi Everyone - I'm really glad to read everyone's posts.
In 1979 (at age 34), I was fine (except for bad Raynaud's) one spring day and two weeks later I was in the hospital, in a wheelchair, unable to do anything for myself, with doctors telling me I might never work again. I was in the hospital for 3 weeks (in part because of a pseudo-lupus reaction to one of the drugs they gave me) while the doctors argued about a diagnosis. Was it rheumatoid arthritis or lupus? Or a strange virus? Or something else altogether? I don't think it was known at the time that there are over 100 kinds of systemic arthritis, of which PA is one. I had no rash anywhere.
I was treated with Prednisone, and then put on aspirin (after reacting so badly to the one RA drug), 15-18 a day. After 3 years, I went to a homeopath, and two years later I was pretty much pain-free and off aspirin altogether except for headaches. And I've never had a serious flareup since (except when I quit smoking - tobacco is a nightshade and I had a withdrawal reaction for a while).
I've learned that I do have some food sensitivities and I try to rotate the foods that I'm sensitive to - if I don't eat red meat, sugar or nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers) more than every 3-4 days, I don't develop arthritic pain.
Around 2000, researching on the internet, I came across the symptoms for PA and diagnosed myself (the key symptoms being that my sed rate is ALWAYS high and that during my onset attack, my nails separated from the nailbeds). By that time I had learned that my dad had psoriasis and my sister had very bad psoriasis when she was pregnant. Plus my dermatologist said she could see some flaking from the psoriasis in my eyebrows!
When I'm very ill (with flu, etc.), I can get patches of scabs on my elbows and when I'm very stressed, I get flakes on my fingers, but I don't have noticeable skin symptoms often.
I'm retired now, living in New Mexico (lots of sunshine and very little stress). The only medication I generally need is 2 aspirin a day - I had to stop aspirin to take Plavix for 6 months and developed 3 trigger fingers, which disappeared as soon as I was able to get back to my 2 aspirin a day, so it's really a preventative.
Exercise is difficult - starting a new exercise program means aches and pains, and I seem to be more of a wuss about that as I get older, but it's something I need to do, and I think this SparkTeam will inspire me to push on forward through the aches and pains.
That's my story. Most of you have far greater symptoms than I do, and it looks like diagnosis still seems to be difficult. I'm already very motivated by your stories, and know that I will benefit greatly from being on this SparkTeam!
| Pounds lost: 9.0