... weakness, joint stiffness and declining mobility. My general MD thought "it can't be arthritis" because my reumatoid factor and antibody test came back negative. My white blood cell count and sed rate were slightly elevated. After finally being referred to a reumatologist, he told me that PA is differentiated from RA (rheumatoid arthritis) by the RF and antibody tests. My general MD missed the boat completely. I have the classic signs of sausage digits, contracture of one of my fingers, pain along muscle tendons, morning stiffness and severe fatigue in addition to psoriasis.

OK, so here's my story briefly: I'm 46, married, stay at home Mom of two kids. I have had psoriasis on my scalp since my 20's. Looking back, now that I know what's wrong with me, I realize that I have been having weird "flare-ups" over the past 4-5 years... occasional joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue, but had just chalked it up to getting older, overdoing exercise etc, chasing my kids and not being in great physical shape (overweight and not very active... UGH!). Unfortunately, over the past 6 months, I have declined to the point that I can hardly get up out of a chair and have to bump down the stairs on my bottom in the mornings because I cannot walk down the stairs! I am also always exhausted. It's all that I can do to get through the day.

I am hopeful, however, because my rheumatologist has prescribed a drug called methotrexate (6 pills taken orally 1 x week, he says indefinitely if they work). I am scheduled to begin the first dose tomorrow, and understand that it can take 3 - 12 weeks to see maximal results. I am also taking meloxicam (prescription NSAID) and folic acid, multivitamins, and vitamin D per my rheumatologists orders. Wish me luck with this new med!

My two biggest concerns are:

1) What does this hold for my future, my kids, my life in general. Will I ever be "back to normal"?

2) Is anyone else feeling a little depressed? I feel like no one understands how very crummy I am feeling... and I hate to whine to my family and friends, but honestly, I have days when I don't think I can go on much longer without some relief. I feel so awful! (Thanks for letting me vent!)

I hope to be a support for anyone out there who could use a kind, supportive word while going through PA, and apppreciate any words of encouragement and advice from those who have more experience with the disease.

Hope to hear back soon, Helen