JANE, psoriatic arthritis

I have psoriatic arthritis. It took almost one year of pain to finally diagnose what exactly was wrong with me. I'm sure that happens to most people with this auto-immune disease.

My first sign was swelling of the index finger on my left hand. I thought I had jammed it. I went to my primary and he did an X-ray and found nothing. I jammed it and I had to live with it. I had to work, and it is pretty hard to type and do other things I do with a finger that I could not even bend. I lived with that for about six months. Then suddenly I had this horrible pain on my heel of my foot. I could barely walk, the pain was so bad. I would work all day and go home and die. Thank God for teenagers - my girls helped me through that spell.

Things went really bad soon after that. My knees were so bad that they would swell up and were actually warm to the touch and an angry red. I had a very hard time getting up and down. I was only 38 years old, but I was a old person of 80! My wrist and hip were next. Not fun.

At this time I was finally seeing a RA, and some of my symptoms were a bit under control. I was still in a lot of pain. My RA wanted to put me on methotrexate or gold shots. I did not care for either. Sometimes I think God intervened; I needed ear surgery.

After surgery I needed antibiotics, and all of sudden my pain was gone. I was amazed. After about three months, all my symptoms came back gradually. I mentioned this to my RA, while he was talking me into starting methotrexate or alternative methods. He did not want to do it and did not specify his reasons, but I talked him into starting me on minocycline and relefen. That was two years ago and I cannot wait to let people know that there is an alternative method out there. The long term effects are not known, but I don't care. The side effects of methotrexate are far worse.

If this helped someone, I want to know. It is not for everyone, and it is up to your RA and you. It is his and your decision. You do have a say in your treatment. It is something that needs to be discussed and the pros and cons gone over.

Good Luck

You can reach me at arizjane@aol.com

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