James’s first experience with autoimmune disease was when he was diagnosed with psoriasis on his scalp and behind his ears at age 14. He remembers his Dad getting mad with him and thinking he wasn’t washing his scalp properly and sending him back to shower with some medicated shampoo.
He also remembers the fatigue. James had trouble getting out of bed and getting to school and always felt exhausted. He tried different ointments and creams to help the psoriasis but it always came back.
At age 16, James joined the gym and fell in love with training and feeling stronger and the workouts seemed to help with his fatigue levels. He had set his sights on joining the Police Force and worked hard to increase his fitness levels to help him achieve that goal.
Shortly after returning from China where he had been to meet his future wife’s parents for the first time, James began to experience pain and swelling with his left ankle. Putting it down to a sprain, James kept training hard and continuing his work outs.
After eight months with the ankle still being swollen and painful, James went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a torn achilles tendon and given some anti inflammatory medication.
However, once he stopped taking the Voltaran, he found the the pain and swelling had spread to his other ankle, hips and shoulders. Eventually James was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis at just 20 years old.
He had taken on another job that was much more stressful with more responsibility and struggled daily to complete his tasks from the pain he was experiencing. In the end, he had to resign because he was barely able to walk and became bed bound and unemployed.
On some days he was unable to even lift the covers off himself while in bed and felt like his life was over and that he would never get better.
His dream of joining the Police force was gone and James was left wondering what he was going to do for the rest of his life.
James found his purpose through exercise, working consistently to modify different exercises to accommodate his psoriatic arthritis, to create more stability and strength and regain energy and mobility.
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