At the beginning of 2012 I noticed that my ankles were getting a little stiff.
Getting up out of bed was difficult , my ankles just didn’t want to bend and when I put my feet on the ground it was like stepping on broken glass.
I didn’t worry too much at first. It was winter , I’m on the road to being forty , I put it down to nothing more than getting a bit creaky in the cold weather.
By March ,after a few weeks of continuing pain and increasing stiffness I thought it was time to get checked out by my gp.
The gp told me it was just a slight inflammation , he told me to take ibuprofen for two weeks and said it should clear up. In fact it continued getting worse. I went back two weeks later and the gp said he would refer me to the rheumatology clinic. I know that referrals always take a while so I waited …. And waited ….. I phoned the gp surgery a few times and was told that the referral had been made but they had not heard anything back yet.
By July I still hadn’t heard anything and the pain and stiffness were getting worse all the time. My feet were so swollen and sore that some days walking was excruciating.
I mentioned to the doctor that I was now getting pain in my knees too and he told me to be patient , I have a friend who works in the hospital , i asked her to speak to someone she knows in the rheumatology clinic to see what was taking so long and it turned out that they hadn’t received a referral at all.
I had to go to the surgery and complain , at first they told me it had definitely been done weeks ago,so I explained that I had checked with the clinic , they checked and found that it had in fact been “overlooked.”( not bothered with)
I finally got my rheumatology appointment. And I also changed to another gp practice !
I had a scan on my feet which showed lots of inflammation and was at first diagnosed with plantar fasciitis , I was prescribed codydramol by the hospital and fitted for orthotic insoles , wearing the insoles was more painful than not wearing them and the painkillers were not touching the pain. So I went back to the gp. Over the next few months I had numerous blood tests , looking for the rheumatoid factor among other things ( as I have a phobia of needles this was horrendous. ) I think that between September 2012 and the present day I’ve had 15 blood tests.
My Gp tried me on all different painkillers and anti inflammatories. The pain was getting progressively worse and I was now getting pain , stiffness and swelling in ALL of my joints.
In February I had another appointment at the rheumatology clinic and was finally diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I’ve had psoriasis for as long as I can remember but until then no one had ever linked it with my other symptoms.
I started another new medication and was prescribed tramadol but still I wasn’t getting any pain relief so I was given a steroid injection. ( more needles)
The injection did help a little I’ve been finding walking easier and I’m definitely less stiff in the morning. But still in chronic pain .
I had an appointment at the clinic today and my rheumatologist has put me on long term medication , methotrexate , this is an immuno suppressant , it also affects the blood so I have to take folic acid to counteract the effects . Because this medication can cause lots of chest problems I will have to have chest X-rays every 3 months , the first one will be tomorrow and because it can effect my liver and kidneys I have to have blood tests every two weeks . As I’ve had so many blood tests recently I’ve moved past actually passing out and now I just cry (a lot) get dizzy and sweat like a pig in a butchers shop , brave huh ! Apparently i will also be prone to infections , likely to bruise easily and badly , and bleed heavily
It all sounds like a bit of a palava. I have so much medication to take every day that I’m sure I rattle when I walk , BUT at least now I hopefully have the right medication and I will be able to walk rather than the hobbly shuffle I’ve been doing for so long.
And I realise that although this is a lifelong condition it won’t kill me.
So I will gladly put up with the palava that comes with the new medication !