What it’s Like to Be a Black Woman With Psoriatic ArthritisWhat it’s Like to Be a Black Woman With Psoriatic ArthritisGiphy GIFGiphy GIF

What it’s Like to Be a Black Woman With Psoriatic Arthritis

Joint pain kept me from doing my favorite workouts. Hopefully, I could move on and live my life.
By Nicole Cech as told to Hallie LevineWhen I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis 2 years ago at the age of 24, I almost wept with relief. For years, I’d experienced puzzling symptoms. Dark purple-brown flakes on the back of my neck and in the cracks of my feet. Bouts of fatigue were so disabling I couldn’t concentrate at work. Joint pain kept me from doing my favorite workouts.if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[336,280],'mobilenewspepar_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_0',120,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-mobilenewspepar_com-medrectangle-3-0');Suddenly, it seemed that pieces of a missing jigsaw puzzle had appeared. While it was hard to digest that I had a form of inflammatory arthritis, I was also relieved that I knew what was going on. Hopefully, I could move on and live my life.Unfortunately, it did take me years to get a diagnosis. My story isn’t uncommon. Research suggests psoriatic disease – ...
... both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – is underdiagnosed in Black patients. We’re also less likely to get appropriate treatments for our psoriatic arthritis such as biologics. Here’s my story, in the hope that it will help others.if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[250,250],'mobilenewspepar_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_8',121,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-mobilenewspepar_com-medrectangle-4-0');if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[250,250],'mobilenewspepar_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_9',121,'0','1'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-mobilenewspepar_com-medrectangle-4-0_1');.medrectangle-4-multi-121{border:none!important;display:block!important;float:none!important;line-height:0;margin-bottom:15px!important;margin-left:auto!important;margin-right:auto!important;margin-top:15px!important;max-width:100%!important;min-height:250px;min-width:250px;padding:0;text-align:center!important}
I experienced psoriasis for years before my official diagnosis. I experienced a full-body outbreak like my current psoriasis ...
A Puzzling Rash
...flares. They diagnosed eczema, even though it didn’t look like it. My rash wasn’t red but dark purple-brown.
I’ve always been active, often walking as much as 5 miles a day. I noticed that I couldn’t get through workouts without experiencing joint pain.
My primary care physician sent me to specialists, including dermatologists and rheumatologists, who told me the pain was all in my head.
I decided to seek out a Black dermatologist. After I saw the dermatologist, I went to see a rheumatologist to confirm the diagnosis.
A Moment of Clarity
She literally said to me, “It sounds like your dermatologist has it, so I’m not sure what else you want me to do,” and left the ...
...room without even saying goodbye. She said to me that her goal was for me to live my life and do anything I wanted to do.
Living My Life
I’ve also learned to mentally adjust to my limits and to be kind and gentle with myself when I hit a wall of fatigue. As a result, I’m conditioned to not see it as real either.
I think that’s one reason that even with my diagnosis, I was still hard on myself if I couldn’t do everything I wanted or needed to do.
There’s this unspoken expectation that as a woman of color, you’re not allowed to feel pain, and if you do, you must push through it. I’m also very fortunate to have my own creative outlets.