Anna's story

After a severe case of food poisoning triggered Anna's first psoriatic arthritis flare up, she has spent years learning how to live well with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. In her story, she talks about how cooking has helped.

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Since getting psoriatic arthritis, following a severe bout of food poisoning some 35 years ago, I have had to adapt along the way. Arthritis is debilitating, and together with psoriasis, it had been hard to find ways of enjoying life whilst in pain and itchy.

I was working full time doing a physical job in Events and Marketing, and lots of travel and getting in and out of the car was difficult. At one point I did think I would have to give it all up. Thankfully, after trying so many different tablets and treatments over a long period of time, my Rheumatology Consultant put me onto a biological therapy (injection) and I have not looked back since.

Cooking came into my life when I helped my mother catering for Weddings and Anniversaries in the Polish Club, until she could no longer manage it, then I took over.

When I met Ernest, my husband, we had cooking in common. Ernest had been a chef in the Army feeding hundreds of men; my background was catering in the Polish Club with my mother. Together we started to organise and cook lunches at the Polish Club for the community, once a month for 10 months of the year.

We got on very well in the kitchen; each knowing instinctively what was needed without asking. This in a way became my focus, strength and enjoyment. We raised money for improvements to the club from a raffle we had at each lunch. All in all we did a good job and we worked together so well. We also did a lot of entertaining at home, and always working together in the kitchen. Cooking allowed me to live well and enjoy life.