Since the age of 16 I have been genetically blessed to have inherited psoriasis. I say that with sarcasm because psoriasis is a cosmetic nightmare and although there are worse things to have it comes with a lot of metal and emotional baggage. Psoriasis is a skin condition causing dry patches of red flaky skin. It is a chronic long term condition and although it can ‘come and go’ with flare ups and recessive periods it usually sticks around for life. Its like when you graze your arm for example your body naturally repairs the skin by producing new skin cells the difference for psoriasis sufferers is that this happens on healthy skin with no graze needing to be present. Commonly it occurs on the elbows and knees but it isn’t limited to these places I currently have several patches all over my body ranging from the circumference of a pea to the circumference of a large orange. The worst are the ones on my face as they cannot be covered by clothing and although after trial and tribulation I have finally found products and make up that provide almost flawless coverage (I will write a separate post for those interested.) it makes leaving the house without makeup for those menial tasks like grabbing milk or the nursery run in the morning much more emotionally challenging. For lack of a better term I am quite comfortable in my own skin however it is human instinct to judge. Some people stare, some people comment or ask questions and others become paranoid that they might catch it which you can not by the way. I have seen on more than one occasion parents pulling their children away from me in blind panic and my psoriasis is quite mild in comparison to some. As i have mentioned it isn’t contagious it is in your genetics and DNA I inherited it from my Father and Grand-Father and sadly my children may get it. Overall though bar the emotional and mental impact it has it can be managed with steroid creams and other treatment and if you can get over being self concious it isn’t too bad.
Things became a lot worse for me though after the birth of my son almost 4 years ago. Suddenly I had this awful pain in my knees and I assumed it was because I often changed and played with my son on the floor. It felt although my knees were weak and getting up could sometimes be agony. I put it down to being much heavier in weight and after carrying a baby for 9 months that has to take its toll on your body. I spoke to my GP though who I am sad to say fobbed me off instantly putting the pain down to the cold weather. I struggled on and didn’t question the diagnosis life with a newborn was far too busy so I didn’t get around to visiting the GP again even when the pain persisted through the summer. The following year though I noticed my fingers were swollen and itchy. I woke in the middle of the night with a pins and needles sensation in my finger and when I looked the circulation was being cut off due to the swelling on my finger around my ring. I had to use copious amounts of moisturiser to prise the ring off my finger and the knuckle was extremely painful to touch and move. I should have gone to the GP immediately after that but life overwhelmed me and I kept putting off making an appointment. It was a month later when i finally got around to seeing the GP and they assumed I had broken the finger and needed an X-ray. When the results came back it concluded that there was no break but there was some kind of inflammation on the joint and I needed to be referred to a specialist in rheumatology. In Manchester the waiting list for this department is extensive and it meant waiting almost 6 months to receive my first appointment. My condition escalated during this time and although the finger that was originally swollen calmed down several other joints became inflamed and painful. Walking became difficult, writing or holding a pen was a challenge even opening bottles like milk was impossible. I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and extension of the psoriasis causing inflammation of the joints.
At this point i was prescribed an extensive amount of pills for pain management ranging from sleeping tablets and antidepressants to morphine. Although the condition affects me physically it was the emotional and mental impact i wasn’t prepared for. There is nothing like your toddler begging you to play and having to decline because it is too painful to even move. Some days are better than others but my whole life plan has changed 5 years ago i was riding horses and now the prospect of even mounting a horse makes me wince in pain. I have received my fair share of counselling and cognitive therapy to help deal with the emotional aspects of my condition and i am getting there but there are of course challenges i am still having to face. This is a condition i am stuck with for the rest of my life and i never imagined having arthritis in my early twenties. The treatments are aggressive and come with an abundance of nasty side affects but if they give me at least some quality of life back it will be worth it. My journey has just begun but I will keep you posted on the future.
Thank you for reading 🙂