I was in my prime, at the young age of 28, when this autoimmune disease started. I noticed this red raised itchy painful spot on the top of my scalp.  No matter what I tried it wouldn’t go away.  I finally went to see a dermatologist and discovered that I had a chronic illness called psoriasis. Who would have known that one little spot would grow to cover my entire body? Let the games begin!

So there I was scrambling to gain control of this incurable disease. I read numerous books, searched every library — yes library because it was 26 years ago.  And I eventually found this small organization located in Oregon called the National Psoriasis Foundation With the resources provided by the NPF, I finally began to gain ground on this chronic inflammatory disease. I learned that psoriatic disease is inflammation throughout the body, and what you see on the skin is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years they discovered other comorbidities associated with our disease. One of those comorbidities is Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA for short).

Getting Diagnosed Again

Being diagnosed with PsA can be daunting, in part because PsA is incurable and if left untreated can cause irreversible damage. Early diagnosis is critical to maintaining healthy joints, tendons, and ligaments.

I knew very little about this sort of arthritis when I was first diagnosed. None of my doctors ever mentioned it until my clinician recommended I see a rheumatologist. I’d always had minor joint pain. It started getting worse around five years after my diagnoses of psoriasis. The rheumatologist did blood work to rule out RA. He physically examined me, looking at my nails and extremities, then made his diagnosis and prescribed me Sulfasalazine.

It didn’t get better right away.

Mornings were especially tough for me when my PsA wasn’t under control. I would wake up and my ankles would be swollen and it was very difficult to walk. Eventually, my feet swelled up two sizes larger forcing me to buy new shoes. I still have a toe that is deformed, also known as a “sausage toe.” Very common sign of PsA.  Lower back pain, neck pain, and sacroiliac joint pain is also a sign.

I had all this and fatigue, and it felt like most people thought I was making it up. This is a serious autoimmune disease that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You may need to seek out people who lift you up and spend less time with people who get you down. You may need to take a little more time to reflect and recharge. These choices may feel selfish, but the time and space for self-care and positivity are essential to your healing journey, and anyone who cares about you will agree: your healing journey is priority #1.

Silver Linings

Now for some good news: after my doctor prescribed me a biologic, my symptoms of but PsA/PsO started to subside. This insidious disease had affected every aspect of my life, but as I started feeling better it became easier to maintain a positive outlook. I’m so grateful today I switched to a new medication that was FDA approved just two years ago, and that this new medication has me symptom-free. I continue to advocate for better treatments and better laws governing step therapy practice.

Because I want to spare future generations from what I went through with this misunderstood, not contagious disease, I volunteer daily with the NPF to raise awareness. I’m an Ambassador and a Mentor and I’m the founder of the Support group Overcoming Psoriasis on Facebook.  I also write a blog www.overcomingpsoriasis.com.

I estimate I have over 30k followers through all my channels. It’s going to take a village to take down this disease and I’m not stopping until the day I announce a cure.

I’ve partnered with Pack Health because I know they deliver.  

They offer our community the tools we need to be overcoming psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.  And they do this so graciously. Right now Pack Health is working on a program for people with psoriatic arthritis, and they’ve made it their mission to design this program for maximum benefit to you.

I encourage you all to sign up for early access to this new program, as they’re offering it through me at no cost to you. You heard it right, no cost. They want to help you manage your disease, and they’ve got the grant funding to make this possible without you swiping a credit card.

Right now they’re doing their research to figure out what you need most and how they can best support you. They’ll also give you sneak peeks of what is to come. Then, March 1st, when they launch the program, you’ll be first in line for a free health coach that will help you keep track of your progress and explain the free materials you will receive to become a better you.

I know how you feel, let’s change that.  Have a blessed day. Thank you for your continued support.

Do you have Psoriatic Arthritis and want to give Pack Health’s personalized program a try? Click here.

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