We like you already, Picklepudding. Anybody who chooses a screen name like yours must be OK. We’re glad that you found us, but so sorry that you are experiencing what sounds only too familiar to a lot of us.
I really can’t add a lot to what’s been said, but I have strong feelings about diagnoses of fibromyalgia. It is a real disease, and a miserable one at that, but when it is the first diagnosis that gets put on the table, I’m pretty cynical. It is all too easy for docs to say “You’ve got fibro …” and once that thought is in their minds, all other symptoms are attributed to that. No, fibro, in my book, should be a diagnosis only when every other possibility has been excluded. You have many signs and symptoms that fit very neatly into the PsA box.
I cannot tell you how many people have come through here in a similar position to yours. We’re not doctors, but we do have far more collective experience with this disease than most medical practitioners, including rheumatologists. Your responsibility (to yourself) is now to get a diagnosis that “feels” correct to you. Whether it is PsA or Fibro or whatever, when you walk out of that office, you have to be able to say to yourself, “OK, that explains what I’m experiencing and it makes sense to me.” Clearly, fibro alone no longer makes sense. So gird up for battle, as Sybil says: until you walk out of the consult feeling that it all now makes sense, you need to persist until it does.
Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can be a challenge to diagnose, but I think in your case there’s going to be enough evidence to “nail” at least one of the two. Here is a great UK site which you will probably find helpful. Take a really good look at this page.
Nobody wants a diagnosis of PsA. But if that is what you have, you need to know it, and you need a skilled rheumatologist to treat it as aggressively as possible. Worse than a diagnosis of PsA is undiagnosed PsA: now there is something to be really scared of. Sometimes people have PsA that is barely more than a mild nuisance. But PsA can also be aggressive and highly destructive, and it can trash joints faster than you want to know. Joint damage is a one way street, and one that is painful to walk.
You have come to the right place: we love supporting people in their quest for a diagnosis. It’s not so much that we like being “right” (OK, we like that too …) but when we have cheered someone on in the quest, when we have offered experience and strategies for getting a solid diagnosis, we know that we have probably helped another human avoid significant pain, suffering, loss and costs. And that is very satisfying.
Look around here and don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. Hang in there, and hang out here!
All the best to you, Picklepudding
PS If you hold your fingernails up to a bright light and look closely at the surface of your nails, is the surface of the nail perfectly smooth? Just wondering.