Today Lori-Ann from City Girl Flare shares how she treats her psoriatic arthritis. Please remember that Lori-Ann and I are not medical professionals and cannot give medical advice. We are just sharing our experiences and opinions. Check out City Girl Flare and be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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My name is Lori-Ann Holbrook. I am married, live in Dallas and am disabled due to my Psoriatic Arthritis. That’s right, disabled. Although I was only diagnosed five years ago, I believe I’ve experienced PsA symptoms as early as 25 years ago.
It was tough to get to a diagnosis, as my symptoms would usually only present one at a time. So, my initial diagnosis was obesity. After we relocated from Atlanta to Manhattan, my immune system flipped out and I started experiencing all my symptoms at once. I did not know what was going on with me. I had lesions on my feet, could not straighten my right leg, was in pain all over my body, and was exhausted all the time.
Unfortunately, my doctor was forced to try step therapy with me. Step therapy involved trying the least expensive treatment that MIGHT work, then allowing approval of a biologic treatment after failure of two to three other drugs. First, I was on gold therapy. This did not work and upset my stomach. Second, I was on a sulfa drug. This was so dehydrating I thought I was dying while out in the sun. Finally, I was put on a biologic, coupled with a low dose of chemotherapy. Over time, this biologic causes weight gain and, as I flared, I sometimes took steroids and opioids. These caused even more weight gain that my biologic had to be increased to keep up with my BMI.
In moving to Dallas and meeting with a new rheumatologist, I discovered I had been dosed for RA, instead of PsA. The PsA dose is much higher. Now, with the right dose, coupled with a higher dose of my antidepressant, my pain is under control and I’ve been able to wean off my opioids. After a year and a half, I am finally feeling more like myself. My biologic helps with pain and stiffness, my antidepressant helps with brain fog, depression and pain.
I currently have no plan to change my medication, but there are new drugs coming down the pipeline for PsA. What I really hope for is legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Texas. I believe this would be more beneficial to me in the long run. I hope, when the time comes, my rheumatologist agrees.