My psoriasis journey started when I was a child, about 10. I had severe psoriasis on my hands, but it wasn’t diagnosed back then, so my hands were wrapped every day in bandages that had some sort of cream on them. The symptoms suddenly went away until I was 16, then reappeared on the soles of my feet.
Over the years, my psoriasis has flared up and retreated a few times. At its worst, I used a cream made for cow udders and wore socks constantly.
I’ve seen a few dermatologists who prescribed coal tar — foul-smelling stuff — cortisone creams, light treatment, sun treatment, and antibiotics when I developed an infection. Walking was agony at times, especially, I remember, on beach sand — it was like walking on glass.
Then there’s the shame of having feet that peel constantly and are angry and red, and the only footwear I can wear are thongs or sandals because closed shoes rub and hurt.
I changed my diet many years ago. Along with that and my use of a new treatment, I’ve found that my psoriasis has retreated, which is fabulous. However, I have since received a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. After a particularly stressful period in 2015, my left wrist became sore and swollen, and a rheumatologist diagnosed me with psoriatic arthritis. It was so bad that I ended up medically retiring. I was placed on methotrexate, which didn’t agree with me, and I stopped taking the medication.
After six months, my wrist started to improve, but my back began feeling sore. I was diagnosed with spondylitis and have had four surgeries to treat the condition. I now have a few areas that get sore and am on a number of pain meds day and night that help a bit. I’ve been diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome and, recently, osteoarthritis, and I’ve been told I may need a hip replacement.
I’ve had two of my fingers fused, and a third one is to be fused in a few weeks’ time. I’ve also had cysts on my fingers — all related to psoriatic arthritis.
The best thing for me is to follow a healthy diet — no wheat or sugar, because psoriasis seems to thrive on those two food types — walk daily, take pain meds, and rest when I need to, as exhaustion comes with psoriatic arthritis.
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