Posts Tagged ‘intro’

So how long have you had arthritis then?

A simple question?  How long have you had arthritis? Answer, I’m not sure. My GP diagnosed psoriatic arthritis, based on my swollen fingers and negative RF (rheumatoid factor) blood result in 2008. So that would mean I’ve only had arthritis for a few months.

I think I’ve had arthritis for 20 years, this is something I want to discuss with the specalist/consultant if and when I see him.  I have had “sore feet” for 20 years. I have seen many different GP’s and several consultants. The general consensus is that I have:

1) Achilles tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendon that joins the back of the heel to your leg/calf muscle

2) plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the ligaments on the sole of your feet that joins your heel bone to your toe joints.

I’ve had both Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis in both feet for twenty years, I never responded to any treatment (taping, heel lifts, calf stretches, strengthening exercises, ultrasound, shoe insoles, anti-inflammatories or night splints).  The only time the pain in my tendons has eased was when I was pregnant. Go figure!  Most people complain about getting sore feet when they are pregnant, I was quite literally gob smacked when I realised my feet were better when I was pregnant, because I thought they would be much, much worse.

I’m skinny, I always have been, but several doctors have been at pains to point out that if I gained weight it would put even more strain on my feet (which is why I assumed being pregnant would be a disaster, for my feet, at least 🙂  If I had been overweight I am quite sure that all my foot pains would have been blamed on that and I really feel for people who struggle to get a diagnosis because all aches and pains are blamed on their weight.

After both my children were born I suffered “a flare”,  this is when your psoriasis and arthritis gets a lot worse in a very short space of time. You feel like crap, it’s like having flu. You are physically shattered and it hurts to move. Even if you do sleep you still feel exhausted when you wake up. In both cases this lasted for several months. The only trouble was, I didn’t realise what was happening and put it down to trying to cope with the physical exhaustion and the sleepless nights that are part and parcel of living with a new born. I’m a bit of a slow learner, if I have any more kids hopefully I’ll be able to recognise a flare as it happen, not that there is much you can take drugs wise if you are breast feeding, but at least I won’t beat myself up about it and think that I am just a wimp or a bad mother.

So how long have I had arthritis? Well, I feel like I’ve been living with it for twenty years but I’ve only had a name for it for a few months. Does that make me a newbie or an old hand? I’ve got used to coping with my sore feet and the limitations that brings, now I just need to apply those lessons to other parts of my body.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Categories: Psoriatic Arthritis Tags: ,

Quakers – that’s some sort of cult isn’t it?

People have some strange ideas about Quakers. Some people think it’s some sort of cult. Nothing could be further from the truth, the whole idea of Quakerism is that you make up your own mind, based on your own experience. No brainwashing involved. Quakers are officially called the Religious Society of Friends, they are a Christian denomination that started about 300 years ago, in the UK.

There are a couple of other myths that I’ve come across.

1) You can’t be a Quaker, you don’t wear old fashioned clothes and a funny hat/bonnet.

A tiny minority of Quakers (mostly in the United States) do “dress plain” i.e. complete with bonnets and long skirts. Every Quaker I’ve ever met wears regular clothes. Some Quakers chose to wear clothes that are fairly traded, but there aren’t any set rules you have to follow.

2) You can’t be a Quaker, you drive a car/watch television/ use the internet…

Some people seem to confuse Quakers with the Amish. The Amish are a Christian denomination, in the US and Canada.  The confusion probably comes about because both the Amish and Quakers are known for simple living and non violence.  In some Amish communities this includes using horse drawn carriages and living without modern conveniences such as electricity. All the Quakers I know live in modern houses, some may choose not to run a car or watch television but modern conveniences are not in anyway forbidden.

Another reason for confusion between the Amish and Quakers is that there are a large number of Amish people (50,000) in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was, in colonial times known as “the Quaker province“. Quakers believe in religious freedom for everyone, which allowed the Amish communities to prosper in that region.

3) Quakers only eat porridge

Most people have seen the image of a quaker man on porridge oats. The Quaker cereal company have no ties with Quakers. In fact the Quaker logo is a good example of branding.  Quakers were thought to epitomise integrity, honesty and purity which the people at the oat company thought would be a good trademark, the quaker man logo was registered in 1877 and continues to be used by Quaker Oats to this day.

Personally I’m not a big fan of porridge, I know its good for you but I certainly wouldn’t eat it just because it has a picture of an 18th century quaker on the packet!

4) If you need to join a religous society just to make friends you must be really sad.

Hmm, I admit, I prefer the term Quaker to “Religious Society of Friends”, a religious society of friends does sound a bit sad. If you need to go to a religious society to make friends you must be a bit of a weirdo. I suppose I do think some Quakers are a bit weird, but just like any other group of people, be that a sports team, a choir, a church, a playgroup or the mates you meet up with in the pub it takes all sorts and the world would be dull if we were all the same.

Quakers refer to other Quakers as “Friends” (with a capital F) similar to the use of the word Deaf with a capital D in the deaf/Deaf community. It’s a bit odd at first, but you get use to it after awhile. Some older Quakers still use the Thee/Thou (meaning “you”) among Friends. Although I’ve only heard that once or twice.

Some of my good friends are Quakers, there are plenty of other Quakers that I know in passing but wouldn’t call them friends in the conventional sense.

5) Do you try and convert people?

Lord No!  I can think of nothing worse, the thought of:

a) trying to convert people or

b) listening to someone that wanted to convert me

Fills me with dread and horror. If you go to a Quaker meeting a few people will probably say hello, but they won’t start “bible-bashing”. The whole idea of Quakerism is that your “life speaks”. You don’t need to go round telling people you are a Quaker but you should be honest and fair with others, your whole life should be an example, not just what you do for an hour on a Sunday.

You mean, I could have met a Quaker and not even realised it?  Yep, very probably. If you want a slightly more sarcastic take on these questions check out Bob Loblaws Blog.

Categories: Quaker Tags: ,

Psoriatic Arthritis

Arthritis is something old people get, right?  I wish!  Many old people have arthritis, but so do some young people, there are different types. All arthritis causes painful stiff joints. The one most people think of is osteoarthritis which you tend to get as you age.  The other one most people have heard of is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it tends to affect younger people and can be very severe.  Few people have heard of psoriatic arthritis (PA).  Psoriasis is a skin disease, you get red itchy circles (or plaques) of skin that flake off. You tend to get it on your elbows and knees, although you can get it anywhere on your body. Psoriasis isn’t contagious.  You can’t catch it from someone.

About 10-20% of people with this flaky skin develop problems with their joints. I am one of them.  As I type this the 4th (ring) finger of my hand is swollen and a bit sore. At last, an excuse for my typos! The pinky finger on my right hand is going the same way. I’m left handed so this doesn’t bother my as much as you might think, but I’m starting to feel the same thing happening in the middle finger of my left hand and I’m not too chuffed about that.

My hands have been sore for about 6 months now. My GP has X-rayed my right hand and I’m waiting on the results. I don’t think the X-rays will show much, it can take years for the damage from psoriatic arthritis to show on X-rays, but I just need to be patient and wait for the results (not one of my strong points).

I’m also waiting on the result of some blood tests.  6 months ago, my GP test me for RF (Rheumatoid Factor), RF shows up in about 80% of people with rheumatoid arthritis, fortunately that was negative, which means I probably have psoriatic arthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis.  My GP has repeated that test and they are also checking the levels of the “inflammatory marker” CRP in my blood.

My GP seems to be quite through, he also ordered a full blood count, 6 months ago this showed I was anaemic so I’ll be interested to see if that’s still the case or if all the black pudding and spatone water I’ve been having have upped my iron levels. Apparently anaemia is not uncommon in people with inflammatory arthritis (both PA an RA are types of inflammatory arthritis) and it doesn’t always respond to iron tablets.

Hopefully in a week or two I’ll know what the results of these test are. There is not a specific test for psoriatic arthritis. I wish they would find one!  In fact, I wish I knew some lab somewhere was even trying to find one!

Categories: Psoriatic Arthritis Tags: ,

Hello world!

July 11, 2009 1 comment

My first post, I’m not so sure about this theme, it’s a bit hard to read, but I like the picture of the girl.  I intend to keep a sporadic blog so I can keep track of my thoughts on two important themes in my life. Quakerism and Psoriatic arthritis, please don’t think that the two are directly related!

Not all quakers are arthritic and not everyone with psoriatic arthritis is a quaker 🙂

I quite like the name arthritic quaker, it makes me sound at least 90 years old and very wise when the truth of the matter is I’m 30 and in serious need of some wisdom…

I’ll be interested to see how this blog develops, will I mostly write about arthritis, or will I spend most of my time musing on Quakerism and how it applies to my life?  I don’t imagine too many posts will combine the two subjects, but you never know.

To read all posts follow this link

The arthritis posts are here

The Quaker posts are here

Please feel free to leave comments if you wish.

PS I changed the theme with the girl, the text size was too small, the links were hard to read and any uploads really contrasted with the dark green background.

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