Psoriasis

It\\\’s Just A Bad Day

This blog post was created in partnership with The Arthritis Foundation. I was compensated for my time, but I can assure you I wouldn’t pass along this information if I didn’t feel it was valuable to the arthritis community as a whole. 

As an adult, I can look back and think of many times that my parents were right and I was clearly wrong. It’s something that we can joke about now, but in the moment would cause frustration.

Of course, as a teen, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go to a friend’s house if their parents weren’t home or why I wasn’t allowed to take the car and drive to a different state by myself. 

But one thing that really sticks out in my mind are the fights that I had with my mom about having arthritis.

I honestly remember sitting in the bathroom with the door locked, crying my eyes out because my mom told me I had to go get an MRI with contrast the following day. The MRI part wasn’t the part that upset me, it was the contrast part. I knew they’d have to inject me with dye and to a young kid that was going to hurt!

I can’t even imagine how my mom was feeling sitting on the other side of the door hearing me cry and scream about it. 

You see, when I was in middle school a rheumatologist told me they thought I had psoriatic arthritis. But, since there weren’t any specific tests to pinpoint exactly if that’s what it was, the diagnosis wasn’t ever “official” on my medical file.

I wasn’t even through puberty yet, so in my brain, there was NO way I had arthritis. I WASN’T A GRANDMA! 

My knee(s) would flare up, I’d be achy, I’d have some symptoms – and my mom would bring up the arthritis diagnosis and I’d dismiss it. I remember screaming so many times to my Mom (sorry Mom) that I didn’t have arthritis. 

This went on even into my 20’s! I remember being a 26-year-old working on a project for work in Chattanooga, TN. I was sitting in the kitchen at my client’s site, talking to my mom on the phone during lunch. I was calling to tell her that my orthopedist wanted me to go get an MRI on my knee because it was acting up again.

“It’s probably your arthritis!” I remember her saying. And again, I got mad because I wasn’t a Grandma. I COULDN’T POSSIBLY have arthritis.

But guess what – in America, there are 54 MILLION Americans with arthritis. And arthritis isn’t just an “elderly disease.” Two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65, including 300,000 children.

And I was one of those children. . . even though I didn’t FULLY embrace the psoriatic arthritis “official” diagnosis until I was 27, laying in a hospital bed the week of Christmas in so much pain I didn’t know what to do. 

Candidly, it took me a while to get a grip on what the diagnosis meant and how it would change my life. I spent a good 6 months in bed, depressed, not wanting to move, in denial. 

But then, I had my ‘aha’ moment. It was in connecting with other patients online that I realized I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to live a life of misery. In fact, I could still live an awesome life DESPITE psoriatic arthritis. 

In 2013, I decided to start my blog and start advocating for my condition. One of the first places I went was to the Arthritis Foundation. Getting involved in the local Pittsburgh chapter of the Arthritis Foundation was so refreshing and inspiring. That first year I joined local patients and caregivers and went to Harrisburg to advocate for change. After that experience, I joined the Advocacy and Mission Committee for Arthritis Foundation and had a blast going to state senator and representatives offices. I volunteered for the Jingle Bell Run and the Walk to Cure Arthritis.

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