I thought I would start my blog here on the wonderful Arthur’s Place with a quick getting to know me. If there’s one thing in the world I love to do, it’s to talk about myself.
My name is Rebecca. I am 28 years old. I have psoriatic arthritis.
I developed psoriatic arthritis in April 2016, diagnosed in August 2016. It started as one swollen toe on my left foot. In typical British style, I shrugged it off. Maybe I’ve stubbed it or dropped something on it etc? Only it didn’t get better. It got worse.
The pain became more intense and I was heavily limping. I was constantly going to the doctor, crying to them that something was very wrong. I was fortunate that my doctor took me seriously. I had numerous blood tests for everything from gout to lupus. I went to A&E twice in three weeks for X-rays. No stress fracture. No break. Nothing. I was told by the hospital that I was wasting time and all I had was ‘a sausage toe.’
By this point my doctor suggested I had PsA. Within 10 weeks of sausage toe appearing, almost every joint below, and including, my hips was stiff and swollen. I went from running 15 miles a week to being unable to walk or even get myself out of bed.
I had to fight my Rheumatologist to get my diagnosis, but when I did it was like a weight had been lifted. I wasn’t making it up. I wasn’t going crazy.
The toe that started all this is now fused in a bent position, and will require surgery to straighten it. It limits the footwear I can wear, as the toe doesn’t fit in many shoes. It’s lovingly referred to as The Claw. Another two toes on the left foot have started to bend towards the right and over each other, in some kind of race to touch my big toe. They’ll also require surgery. Oh, and I’m also in the process of having all 10 of my toenails permanently removed.
It means right now, whilst I have dressings on the toe, I can’t get my foot wet and I have to wear a shoe I made out of a bin bag and hang my leg over the side of the bath. It’s as glamorous as it sounds. If I’ve learnt anything over this last year it’s that arthritis is so much more than painful joints.
I’ve done a bit of running since, including the Great North Run and will be running the 2018 London Marathon. I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I’ll do it. There’s a free goodie bag waiting for me at the finishing line!
I hope to talk about the symptoms you don’t see as well as the symptoms you do, about the good, the bad and the ugly experiences I’ve faced and about the emotions I’ve gone through post-diagnosis (spoiler, I’m a crier).
Until next time!!
Meet Rebecca and other friendly folk on Arthur’s Place Social, our Facebook Group
(Any opinions expressed in Rebecca’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Rebecca’s blog constitutes medical advice.)