Parenting With a PsA Diagnosis

By Jack Webb
Updated 2024-03-28 17:57:10 | Published 2021-08-20 08:31:05
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    • In the Psoriatic Arthritis section of the iMedix Blog, delve into topics around this inflammatory arthritis linked to psoriasis. Find information on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and living tips, providing valuable support for patients and their caregivers.

father tying young sons shoes 7

I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) when I was 27 years old. Prior to that, I led an active lifestyle, playing volleyball and tennis. However, illness soon took over. Throughout the years, I went to college, law school, got married, and had children. The first signs of PsA appeared in my left knee, but it quickly spread to both knees, hips, and shoulders.

When our first child, a son, was born when I was 33, PsA began to hinder my ability to participate in sports with him. I couldn't throw a ball overhand when playing catch, and I couldn't run to coach his baseball or soccer teams. I made an effort to attend all his games, unless I was away on business travel. Three years later, we had a daughter. One of my favorite activities with her was singing her to sleep, which led to her developing a love for music that she pursued in high school and college.

As my flexibility decreased over time, I could no longer get down on the floor to play with my daughter because I couldn't get back up on my own. When our children were around 7 and 4, we went to a Christmas party where I filled in as Santa Claus. It went well, but my son recognized me due to my watch. Luckily, he kept it a secret. Humor was invaluable in that moment, but it was a one-time opportunity.

I have a noticeable stiff neck due to fused disks, often mistaken for the result of a car accident. Strangers would ask about it, causing my children to feel embarrassed. I would explain my condition to them, teaching them the importance of not making negative comments about someone's appearance. This served as a lifelong lesson – a person's disability is private unless they choose to share it.

I believe that being a role model is the most important thing we can teach our children. My children witnessed my PsA journey firsthand, and they helped me during my recovery from joint replacements. They have read my articles and heard me speak about my condition, and they have participated in fundraising activities for the National Psoriasis Foundation using their own expertise. It is vital to stay connected to others with PsA, which is why I encourage joining our Facebook Support Group.

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