Jody Quinn was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in 2003. The diagnosis was both a blessing and a curse for her. She finally had a name for what had been causing her joint pain and anxiety for years, but she also found that her newly named disease did not have a cure.
For a frustrating 15 years, Quinn bounced from doctor to doctor to no avail – primary care physicians, rheumatologists, orthopedic specialists and physical therapists could not get to the root of her pain and discomfort. Quinn endured bone scans and blood tests only to rule out rheumatoid arthritis. She was told that with weeks of rest, physical therapy and pain medicine, the pain would ease, but her symptoms would ultimately return – or worsen – at some point as she resumed her normal pace of life. She still had a high level of pain and discomfort and experienced difficulties when going about her day-to-day activities.
Along with her constant joint pain, Quinn had mild psoriasis and suffered from occasional flares. At a routine appointment with her dermatologist during a flare period, she brought up her fingernails. Her nails had damage that she had not previously asked her dermatologist about, until one nail got so bad that it was almost falling off.
“I said to the doctor, ‘What is up with this fingernail?’” she recalls. “He was like, ‘How long have you had that?’”
After recounting her history with her nails and joint pain, her dermatologist said, "You need to go see a rheumatologist. I think you have psoriatic arthritis."
“That’s when the light went [on],” Quinn says.