Do You Understand Your Journey?

Last updated: December 2018

I have had psoriasis for most of my life and developed psoriatic arthritis in my mid-twenties. I have spoken to many people over the years and tried to explain my disease to them, but most never get it. I know plenty of people who have the same disease that I do but seem to manage their illness on a whole different scale.

One of many health conditions

At the age of 18, I started getting certain diseases that most people wouldn't get until they were a lot older. My doctor used the word comorbidity, but I didn't have a clue what that meant back in the day. I just knew that year after year I was always getting diagnosed with another illness. There was a point in my life where I didn't think I would live past the age of 50. I just had too much going on with my body.

I never wanted to know everything that was wrong with me, but I knew that one day I had to face reality and really get it together. I have psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol,obesity, and anxiety. I’m just walking death. Comorbidity is having two chronic diseases at once. I think I fit the bill.

Coping with everyday life

Everyone I know deals with life differently. We all need to understand our pain level as well as other treatment options. I have accepted my life as well and have learned very well how to cope with my conditions. Right now, my biggest concern is not taking too many medications at once, so they don't interact with each other.

I have my good days and my bad days as everyone else does. I must give myself plenty of time during the day to get ready for an event. I just can't rush anymore, it takes so much out of me. Having high blood pressure and high cholesterol doesn't affect my everyday living, but having psoriatic arthritis affects every joint in my body. When my immune system is overactive it causes my psoriasis to flare. Having fibromyalgia just makes you hurt all over.

I talk to people every day who comment on how they don't know how I do it. Most people know what I go through on any given day. They tell me how proud they are of the way I carry myself and cope with things in life. There are some days that my anxiety is very high, but I have learned to deal with it and know that this won't last forever.

Invisible illnesses

Just because I don't look sick, doesn't mean I'm not, so don’t assume I am OK. I’m not. Be a little compassionate and show some understanding for the diseases that I have. I need you to understand that if I cancel plans with you, it's because I'm tired. If I sleep all day I'm not lazy, just fatigued. Stop telling me to exercise, getting out of bed is exercise. Remember that one thing going wrong in my body can make it challenging for something else to go wrong.

Everyone knows I have had psoriasis for 55 years, but now I have told you my other illnesses as well. Do you forget all the other aspects of my life? Can we just talk about one disease and forget the rest? I don't think so.

Moving forward

The older I get, the more I must step back and take a look at all my diseases. I know some things are brought on because of my lifestyle. I am overweight and know that losing a few pounds can help me with heart disease and obesity. I can eat healthily and drink plenty of water to improve my health. I know that taking small steps will help with some of the issues I have. I want to improve my health and I will. I know some things will never go away but I can slow down the damage it is causing in my body.

I know what lies ahead of me. Do you?

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