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Did Your PA Get Started?
Ed: I was glad
to find your site! I've been
all over the net for several years in an attempt to find info regarding
these dreaded illnesses and had never come upon your site until I visited
about.com. I've enjoyed what
I've seen so far and wanted to contribute in some way.
I've been a psoriatic since I was about 21 and have had PA for
several years, but was only diagnosed in 2001, after having to quit my job
and basically losing all of my “friends.”
I don't know what I'd have done if I had been the sole breadwinner.
It's been a
long, hard ride from the first day I became ill with PA to here, but with
church and a little change in attitude, I'm beginning to recover some
normalcy of life again. I've
taken/applied/eaten and used almost everything available.
It seems I've found the greatest relief with a combination
treatment of Cyclosporine, Methotrexate and Oxycontin.
It still isn't GREAT, but it's manageable now most days.
previewing your site, but would be interested in knowing what your
symptoms were when you first became ill with the arthritis form of P.
I spent about ten years trying to hide the skin, which only made it
worse and did it ever itch. I've
spent the past 6 or 8 years not caring who sees it because it gets less
aggravating when clothing doesn't touch it.
I've had try to overcome the looks and whispers.
Before the medications for the arthritis form, my legs and arms
were about 80%, as well as having it on my face and mildly in my hair.
I'm still praying and hoping my son will escape this, although he
was diagnosed with it in his scalp this year.
wanted to say hello and thanks. Hope
this isn't too long or too much info!
Sincerely, Jill L.
Response: Too much info?
No way, Jill! You’re
welcome and thank you for the
About a year
before I was diagnosed with PA I suffered what we learned, much later, was
a “ruptured varicosity” — sharp pain behind my right knee followed
by a huge bruise a day or so later on the bottom of my right foot!
For days the knee was extremely painful and swollen.
I learned later that the “bruise” on my foot was really blood
from the knee area pooling under my foot after making it’s way between
muscles and tissues under gravity’s force to the lowest possible point
in my body. The foot never
hurt; that’s what was so puzzling.
“ruptured varicosity” was a broken vessel deep inside and behind my
knee. I was told it wasn’t
rare, some people had a proclivity for such things, and it was pretty much
a grin-and-bear-it situation for me.
about a year later, when my knee started to throb terribly and swelled to
a size somewhere between a softball and a basketball — in truth, some of
my pants wouldn’t fit! — I just assumed “ruptured varicosity” and
tried to endure for many weeks. (I
should have second-guessed myself when there was no evidence of internal
bleeding this time ... but I didn’t, at least not for several weeks.)
My GP drained
the right knee several times. One
time the pressure was so great, he could not stem the flow of fluid
through the hypo while he was trying to change the receptacle:
I literally shot
swollen-knee-juice all over him, his nurse and his exam room.
(The last time anything similar had happened was when I’d peed on
my pediatrician — age <1 year.)
obvious that, unless something more drastic was done, I’d be in for
routine knee drainings without an end in sight, so eventually my GP sent
me to a rheumy (rheumatologist) who, after listening to my history and
cursorily examining my skin, diagnosed the knee condition as psoriatic
By that time I
had experienced days when I literally could not drive because the pain
interfered with pedal operation. For
me, that’s a practical disability. I
was beginning to panic. For
many months I was unable to sleep through the night because the pain woke
me. I used Vioxx for pain.
I was never prescribed Oxycontin (a narcotic analgesic).
my skin P was flaring mightily at the same time.
I was in my seventh or eighth year of almost continual use of
topical corticosteroids (varying potencies) and it was all too obvious
that they were losing the battle. Just
a few weeks before I visited the rheumy my derm had recommended I
reconsider Methotrexate. I was
still reluctant. Then, when I
heard the rheumy make the same recommendation I finally caved in.
It took several
months, but MTX first stopped my PA symptoms and, somewhat later, reduced
my skin lesions by about 80%. I
used MTX for about a year the first time.
switching to Cyclosporine, I remained PA-free (or, at least,
“pain”-free). I was on
Cyclo for nearly a year and, now, have been back on MTX for almost a year
and the PA remains at bay. Knock
I have it in my
hands now, but not so debilitating. I
get the “sausage digits,” which ache and hurt if they're squeezed,
jammed or otherwise abused. But
it’s rarely so bad that my typing or other hand-work is compromised.
I’ve also had “sausage digits” on my toes but, unless I stub
them, they don’t bother me.
my PA story. Compared to many
others here, my PA has been mild and sparing.
At the moment, I’m noticing
the right knee again and a few digits are swollen, and these are signs I
interpret to mean my PA is angry about being subdued for this length of
time and eager to bust out. I
can feel it fighting to shake off the restraints of the MTX.
I’m on the Enbrel waiting list and, assuming they ever get to me
and my insurance company is cooperative, I have high hopes that this will
renew and maintain my remission — both PA and skin P.
happens, we all know I won’t be quiet about it.
Stay in touch, Jill. -Ed