Personal Perspectives on Psoriatic Arthritis: Rough Sketch of the Future | WebMD

Personal Perspectives on Psoriatic Arthritis: Rough Sketch of the Future | WebMD


[MUSIC PLAYING] MARK CHRAPLA: I feel like I remember in kindergarten always being impressed with art. The thing that fascinates me about drawing is it’s kind of cool starting with a blank sheet of paper where you’re kind of creating something out of nothing. [CAR STARTING] It’s one of those things I feel like I was just born to do. You don’t think, oh, I’d better draw everything I can now because, in 10 years, I might have psoriatic arthritis. I’m a senior creative designer, a car designer, essentially. I draw cars, yeah. So that’s what brought me up to Detroit. It’s been a great job. I love doing it because there’s so much problem solving that goes into design. Every single component in a vehicle is important. If they rely on each other, I mean, it’s kind of like the way that your body works, that everything’s tied together. There’s a lot of similarity in the way that an electrical system works in a car and your nervous system in the body. If one part’s not working, it can kind of throw the whole system off. [ENGINE REVVING] And my hands are like the engine of a car, essentially. You don’t want the engine to seize up, and you certainly don’t want your hands to seize up either. Well, I had psoriasis first. So I knew I had that, but I wasn’t really suspecting of psoriatic arthritis. I did start to get stiffness and pain in joints, and I didn’t really think much about it. A couple years later, my fingers really started to visibly change. And it took me a while to even think, oh, maybe this is something I should see a doctor about. A little bit of it was the pain. But honestly, it was just the visible change. I mean, this is what my finger’s supposed to look like. And this is what it looks like with the psoriatic arthritis. It’s a little bit embarrassing. Like even at work, if I’m pointing at something on a screen, I don’t use this finger anymore. I’ll use my pinky. I’m like, oh, this over here. You draw your whole life, and you just– you always take for granted that you’re going to have the full use of your hands. The pain, it’s off and on. Like today, it’s really not that bad. But some days, it’s a sharp pain. I mean, you get this inflammation, and it almost feels like your bones are grinding together. When this one gets really bad, the best analogy is like, it looks and feels like a grape, when it’s in all your fingers and you don’t even want to bend your hand just because it hurts. Sometimes the pain is so bad, I have to get a shot directly into the joint. They help. And then, unfortunately, my finger will never look like a normal finger again. It’s worse in my left. I have it a little bit in my right hand, which is worrisome as an artist. I look at my left hand, and I’m wondering if that could happen to my right. I hope not. My hands are very important. If there was ever a day where I couldn’t draw again because of this, I just can’t imagine what life would be like. It’s scary. Stress is actually a pretty big part of it. So trying to limit stress, in general, is a good way to go. And I snowboard. I ride bikes. I work on bicycles, work on cars, collecting records, or anything to help me relax and just kind of get into a comfortable space. I’m really into buying vintage bicycles and fixing those up. It’s very important that the soreness isn’t there. Having swollen, inflamed fingers, it doesn’t help you get into those tight spaces very easily. I like to ride bikes. That’s kind of my main form of exercise. I just love the freedom of it. It’s a cool way to see the city. When I first started exploring the city and really started falling in love with Detroit, it was actually on bicycle. The psoriatic arthritis, it is progressing a little bit. I’m taking the steps to fight against it. And if there’s anything that I can do to keep it from advancing, I’m certainly open to exploring what those possibilities are because I need these. It’s on my mind more than I wish it was. I’m trying to remain optimistic. It hasn’t stopped me from drawing. I’m still doing that. I’m still doing my career. And I don’t want to let it slow me down. [MUSIC PLAYING]

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *