January 03, 2022
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As the Bezzy PsA guide, Jenny’s goal is to help others living with psoriatic arthritis feel less alone with what they’re experiencing.
For most of her life, Jenny Durand was super active and athletic. As a gymnast, she practiced 20 hours or more a week from childhood through high school. In college, she picked up running and ran in the Chicago Marathon.
But in 2019, seemingly out of the blue, she started having some hip issues.
“I started feeling like my hips were made of tin,” she says.
She also had toe pain and struggled to run like her peers. Figuring it was just from overuse, she decided to be cautious and checked in with her primary care doctor, who signed her up for 4 weeks of physical therapy.
It felt like it happened so quickly. There was a lot of grief.
— Jenny Durand
The physical therapy made her feel worse — and shortly thereafter, she received a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) at the age of 26.
“It felt like it happened so quickly,” she says. “There was a lot of grief.”
Jenny grieved her formerly active lifestyle and, as a nurse, she worried about how she’d be able to get through her shifts. She worried that she wouldn’t be able to help a patient quickly enough if they needed her.
“I’d limp for the first 4 hours of the day,” she says. “It was really tough.”
She was able to see a rheumatologist and started on medication. After some trial and error, she was able to reach remission.
“I don’t have any pain when I get out of bed anymore — it’s a night and day difference,” she says.
Jenny had been afraid to start medications, at first, so she turned to Instagram to share her journey. Over time, this helped not only her own fears but also the fears of others who wanted to know what some medications were like.
I was looking for a way to feel less alone in this, and to feel a little less like a misfit.
— Jenny Durand
“I knew nobody with psoriatic arthritis,” she says. “So when you try to talk about fears… unless it’s to a group of people that are also going through it, it’s really hard for people to understand and offer any kind of empathy for what you’re going through.”
Online, however, she did find her community — and kept meeting people when she became the guide for PsA Healthline, now Bezzy PsA.
“I was looking for a way to feel less alone in this and to feel a little less like a misfit.”
Today, Jenny is excited to continue her work of creating a warm and welcoming community as your Bezzy PsA guide.
Bezzy is a safe space and a place where you can come with any concern or feeling — whatever is on your mind — and you’ll meet people who get it and are supportive and empathetic.
— Jenny Durand
“I have loved making connections within the Bezzy PsA community, because it’s people that I would never get a chance to meet if I didn’t have this avenue of communication,” she says. “And it’s people that may not have found support if it didn’t exist. It’s such a good feeling to be able to help.”
What she wants people to know most about this community is that you’re going to meet people who can really empathize with what you’re experiencing.
“I want people to know that Bezzy is a safe space and a place where you can come with any concern or feeling —whatever is on your mind — and you’ll meet people who get it and are supportive and empathetic.”
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