As we head into the time of the CrossFit Open I am reminded of last year….and how difficult it was. The Open started out GREAT! I did the first workout and was really happy with how I did. Between the first and second Open workouts I was in the gym for a normal workout and we were doing snatch work. I missed a rep and bailed it behind me, but was unable to step forward quick enough. It landed on my lower back and pushed me to the ground. Luckily it rolled off, but I knew I was hurt. After about an hour I realized I would have to go see the Dr. They took X-rays and determined there was no serious damage, but I could tell it was going to be a slow recovery. I was leaving for a trip to Hawaii the next day, which was partly good because I knew I could just relax, but very bummed that I was out of the Open.
After that in April, while my back was finally starting to get back to working order…I started developing pain in my big toe (right foot). It hurt to walk or scrunch my toes. I had some x-rays done, but nothing was discovered. I went to my acupuncturist (as I do with most of my aches and pains) and tried some intensive sessions. During that time I also started developing pain in my right index finger, which I was having treated as well. I still managed to work out, but I could grip anything and I couldn’t do any high impact on my feet….so workouts were extremely limited. The pain was getting worse and worse and at the ripe old age of 31….I honestly felt like I was 80. I would wake up every morning in a LOT of pain, once I got moving things felt slightly better, but I was just trying to get through the days. Luckily for me we were heading into summer months so flat shoes and sandals were acceptable – as that’s the only thing I could wear without too much pain. This went on for about 2 months.
DETOUR: To explain what happens next, I have to give you a little personal history (more personal than I usually tell people). In high school I was diagnosed with Psoriasis – “a common, chronic, relapsing/remitting, immune-mediated systemic disease characterized by skin lesions including red, scaly patches, which usually itch.” It’s thought to be a genetic disease and there is NO cure, but there are different treatments available to control the symptoms. In college I was approved to take a newer medication (an injection), because other treatments weren’t working. I could write an entire post just on how hard it was living with that, but I won’t! The results were amazing and I had been taking that medicine for 14 years! After I got laid off from Clearwire, while I was between jobs….I stopped taking the medication. Everything seemed fine.
Back to my story! After 2 horrible months of swollen toe and finger along with overall pain…I started doing some research (which can be a VERY BAD THING with the internet these days). During my yearly visits to the Dr. for my psoriasis he would always ask if I had any pain…and that arthritis was common in people with psoriasis. I always felt great and had some CrossFit related pains, but never thought twice about it….UNTIL NOW! I found a website that had this list of symptoms for Psoriatic Arthritis:
- Generalized fatigue
- Tenderness, pain and swelling over tendons
- Swollen fingers and toes
- Stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints
- A reduced range of motion
- Morning stiffness and tiredness
- Nail changes—for example, the nail separates from the nail bed and/or becomes pitted and mimics fungus infections
- Redness and pain of the eye, such as conjunctivitis
I had SIX of the eight listed symptoms and everything else on the page seemed like it was written for me. I immediately made an appointment with a Rheumatologist.
During my week wait for my Dr. appointment, I read lots of articles and blogs about people with PsA. That is when things got bad….I literally thought my life was over and that I would be crippled. Patrick was very supportive, as were many of my close friends who knew what I was going through. I tried to block out all the “possible” outcomes, but it’s hard. The visit with my Dr. went really well. By the time I got to see him 4 of my toes were sausage like and my finger was still swollen too. He pretty much told me I was a “text book case” and that I did in fact have Psoriatic Arthritis, but like other diseases there is a varying degree. Mine was not the crippling kind. The treatment is what I was used to, so that was good news…..get back on the same medication you were taking for your psoriasis before!
While it was tough to learn that this is another aspect of the disease I will have to forever live with, I was just glad to have an answer! About a week after taking the medication I felt about 70% better and within a month I was back to normal! The back to normal has only been since August, but it has been smooth sailing! I’m back to my normal self in the gym and seeing gainz! I hit two PR’s recently, which was a much needed victory! Everyone struggles with something and I hope by sharing my story it helps someone else!
2015 is off to a GREAT start and I’m excited to see what adventures are ahead!