Denise Ladelia, 37, was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at: 19. She's had severe psoriasis since she was a teenager. The arthritis started in her right knee and spread quickly.
I went to work one day when I was 19 and my knee was hurting and felt like it was filling up with fluid. I had it drained, then went to my general practitioner, who remembered I’d had psoriasis when I was 15 and [noticed] some pitting in my nails.
I went to a rheumatologist who diagnosed [psoriatic arthritis] right away. At that time, we knew nothing about psoriatic arthritis. I went back to my dermatologist and asked why he never mentioned this to me. He said, “If I told everyone who had joints ache about psoriatic arthritis, everyone would think they had it.” That made me pretty mad.
It was in remission until I was 25. Then one day I woke up and could barely stand up and my hands were locked. The arthritis came back and had moved to different joints.
I started methotrexate pills, then injections. That worked for a while. Two years ago, though, I woke up one morning and felt like I’d been hit by a car. I couldn’t move at first and everything hurt. I eventually [saw] Dr. [Christopher] Ritchlin, who put me on Remicade. Within a couple of weeks, I noticed a huge difference in the skin condition, which is 99 percent fine now. A large portion of the arthritis is gone, too.
As great as the Remicade has been, I’m afraid I’m building up a tolerance to it. At first I was getting infusions every eight weeks. Now it’s every six weeks, and by week five or so the symptoms are getting pretty bad.
We’ll try the next drug when this one doesn’t work anymore. It’s frustrating, but there are people out there who have it worse than I do. It’s all about perspective.
A word of encouragement: Going from one drug to the next isn’t always a bad thing.