Journey to the Past

Greetings, unfamiliar faces. Apologies for the lengthy absence. The year 2022 has been quite eventful, to say the least. Perhaps I'll save the details for another blog post. Today, however, instead of focusing solely on the present, I want to transport us back to the past. Specifically, to the turn of the century or, as some prefer, the turn of the millennium.

It was during this era that I first started experiencing aches and pains upon waking up. The discomfort became so severe that I resorted to consuming over-the-counter pain medication at an alarming rate and relying on long soaks in the tub just to function. This was a time when the internet, while existent, was primarily used for simple games, basic news, and email. Surprisingly enough, social media did not yet exist, and even Wikipedia was in its infancy. Arthritis medications were not constantly advertised on television either. We have certainly come a long way.

Why am I bringing this up now? Well, this summer marks the 20th anniversary of the job that provided me with the necessary insurance to visit a doctor who ultimately diagnosed my psoriatic arthritis, setting me on this ongoing journey. Although my symptoms began earlier, it was around this time twenty years ago that I first encountered psoriatic arthritis. I vividly recall knowing very little about the condition back then. It was a struggle to find relevant information, and I felt isolated since I didn't personally know anyone my age who had arthritis. Dealing with a chronic pain disease is already challenging enough, but doing so in isolation can be even more daunting. Without a support network of individuals with arthritis, let alone my specific type, I had no idea what to expect.

What has changed in the past two decades? Firstly, social media has revolutionized the way patients connect with one another. Yes, social media has its drawbacks nowadays, but in terms of seeking connection and support, it has proven to be an invaluable tool. I am now able to reach out to others for advice and insights. I can read about their experiences with this disease, and conversely, they can read about mine. This has genuinely surprised and delighted me. In fact, a couple of friends have privately confided in me, revealing that they too have psoriatic arthritis. Although they may not typically share their stories openly, they are journeying alongside me on this same train. Additionally, I have a friend who actively reaches out to others she knows with psoriatic arthritis, encouraging them to either contact me directly or read this blog. If we rewind twenty years, even if I had the means to share my story, I doubt I would have possessed the knowledge or courage to do so.

Medical advancements have also occurred over the past two decades. I received my diagnosis just as biologic medications were being introduced. Initially, there were only a few options available, but now there is a wide range of medication choices for doctors and their patients to consider. This was not the case twenty years ago, when the repertoire of available medications was limited. Moreover, we now have access to an abundance of information about our disease, not just from fellow patients, but also from doctors, hospitals, researchers, and organizations. Knowledge truly is power.

The past twenty years have been far from easy, but I am confident that I am in a much better position now than I was back then. With hope in my heart, I anticipate that the coming two decades will bring even more remarkable advancements for those of us with psoriatic arthritis. Let us continue discussing it openly and advocating for ourselves. Stay connected with others who have PsA by joining our Facebook Support Group today.