Not All Sausages Are Good

By Sarah Aterrado - May 31, 2023

There is a reason why I haven't been posting dancing content on TikTok lately, why my face is getting "rounder" each day, and why we have to hold off or probably let go of our plans to immigrate to Canada (cold weather is a huge trigger).

It's crazy how life can change in a heartbeat.

One minute I'm carrying and pushing around heavy furniture, the next minute I can no longer cut my own nails.

You see, my immune system was always at its best. I am usually the last or the one who does not ever catch the virus when everybody else has. Like how every single member of our family picked up this highly contagious hand-foot-and-mouth disease except me. I rarely get sick. The only times I have been to the hospital as a patient were the instances I gave birth and when I had a generalized allergic reaction to a bee sting

And then all of a sudden, my immune system went haywire, became dumb and started attacking healthy tissues in my body. 

The pain in my fingers, which I casually brushed off for weeks, became too unbearable that it was nearly impossible for me to do the things I once was so great at such as scrolling on Facebook endlessly, never missing the latest dramas of people I do not know. Haha. 

The inflammation was bad, it made my fingers look like sausages. Then it progressed to my wrists and ankles. I could not do anything that I became more useless than the G in lasagna.

Of course, I went to see a rheumatologist. After a series of blood tests, he suspected two things: Reactive Arthritis (ReA) or Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). While having this old lady joints is bad, I breathed a sigh of relief because I Googled sh*t before getting seen by the doctor and I've read worse. 

Seeing that I had no skin issues and there's no one in the family who has psoriasis that I know of, I was initially diagnosed with ReA. However, PsA was not ruled out completely because psoriasis may appear after the onset of arthritis or I may have had it in the past that can be as simple as a rash the size of a dime that can easily be ignored.

There is no cure for ReA. But the condition is temporary and people do make a full recovery in about six months to a year or so. In my case, I don't see the end of it coming soon with how I get crippled for a day if I miss a dose. Nevertheless, there's still an end to it.

I have been on corticosteroids and immunosuppresants for 4 months.
Hence, the bloated face.

But today, I am suspecting something worse. 

I might actually have a Psoriatic Arthritis. The insect bite on my leg that bled after accidentally scratching it two months ago that eventually developed into a flaky, scaly, itchy patch that doesn't seem to go away might be, heaven forbid, a psoriasis.

From a simple wound (photo taken late March) to a scaly patch that is growing outwards until today. Thought it wasn't just healing because I kept on peeling it.

It was too minor that I didn't think anything of it until I noticed few ridges on my nails—a tell tale sign that something is wrong. I went on another date with Google and everything is starting to add up. I'm going on a trip to the dermatologist to confirm. 

If I do have a PsA, this is not temporary like ReA. It is probably lifelong. I haven't been officially diagnosed with the new disease yet, but I'm already a little scared what my life will be like. 

I grew up doing a lot of strenuous physical activities. With my movement being a bit restricted right now, I probably have to quit doing some things I used to love: sports, hiking, or worse, eating whatever the hell I want. 

Still crossing my now stubby fingers it is just ReA.

Update: I haven't been to the dermatologist yet, but some of my cousins confirmed they do have psoriasis. 😓

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