As I suspected in one of my latest posts, the flare is coming or I should say is happening. It feels like my spots are doubling overnight and the urge to scratch is intense. I have that helpless feeling of not knowing how bad it will get or how long it will stay. Because I’m still nursing, I’ve decided to try treating it naturally before starting any medication.
But any time a flare comes on, I always think back to the first one…
In April 1998, I thought I was having allergic reaction to spring and the spots were just hives. I’m allergic to most of the outside world – grass, certain trees, pollen, etc. But then overnight I was covered in red, scaly spots that completely took over my body – arms, legs, chest, back and scalp. The dermatologist confirmed it was psoriasis and then started going through the treatment options with my mom and I. I figured he’d write me a prescription for a pill or some cream and I’d be clear in a few days. In my head, I was already thinking about what I’d wear to cover it at school and then I’d be back to shorts and tees in a few days.
But then he started saying things like “try this first” and “could work” or “might work” and suddenly I was faced with trying to understand this FOREVER disease. I couldn’t believe there was no magic pill or cream that just made it go away. But nevertheless I was given the first of many topical prescriptions to “see how I’d do.”
But I didn’t do with just the topicals and soon I was getting light treatment three times a week. I didn’t have my license yet, so a huge shout out to my parents and grandparents for getting me there. The light box helped immensely and within a few months, I went from red, intensely itchy spots to pink, dry and healing spots.
Being only 15, I wasn’t the most confident of ladies back then, so the diagnosis was difficult to accept. I had the hardest time hiding it at lacrosse practice. Once spring rolled around, the extra laps from talking too much in drill lines had me extra sweaty, so the sweatpants had to go. I guess I could have stopped talking so much, but it’s still who I am – in constant contact with my best girls. Luckily, my team was made up of a group of wonderful, understanding girls – a few I’m still close with and some I still keep in touch with over social media (AKA: stalking each others adorable babies). But we played other teams and (gasp!) sometimes practiced next to the boys’ team. There weren’t a lot of comments to my face, but there was a lot of staring and a lot of really uncomfortable moments.
Looking back over the past 17 years, so many of my major life events and accomplishments were made with psoriasis – proms and boyfriends, graduating high school and college, building my career, getting married, having the most adorable baby in the world – to name a few. I’ve grown up with psoriasis, it’s a part of who I am.
But I have to wonder how accepting I’d be of my skin condition if I was diagnosed later in life. When did you discover you were living with psoriasis and how did you feel after the initial diagnosis?