My skin condition appeared without a warning.
Flashback to 16 years ago: 7-year-old me was just getting home from spending a weekend at my cousin’s house when my mom noticed I had a red, raised plaque in the middle of my chest. She called my uncle to see if I had worn anything that could have caused an allergic reaction. Unfortunately for me, that wasn’t the case.
My scalp quickly became covered with red, itchy patches and that’s when my mom took me into the dermatologist. One short visit and boom! I was diagnosed with psoriasis.
If you’re wondering what psoriasis is, it’s a chronic autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches that can appear anywhere on the skin. Your body’s immune system becomes overactive and attacks normal tissues in the body. It’s itchy, flakey and can be downright awful.
Back to my story: I had a blood test to rule out any underlying health issues and it was later determined that my skin condition was from stress (cue eye roll) and genetics. Lucky me.
I was prescribed topical ointments and steroid creams. Those were applied all over my spots on a daily basis with the help of my mom, considering by that time my back was covered with plaques. My scalp, along my hairline and behind my ears was the worst area affected. It would itch, crack and bleed, so the foam medication I used would burn every time it was applied to my open skin.
I took flaxseed oil daily with the hope that it would help clear my skin. My mom stocked up on yogurt to mix it with, but even with that the aftertaste wasn’t pleasant. I still won’t eat fruit-on-the bottom yogurt to this day.
My mom quickly learned she had to educate the people around me on psoriasis. My second grade teacher called my mom up to make sure what I had wasn’t contagious. My classmates’ parents would ask her what was wrong with me during field trips. It’s something she dealt with until it went dormant a year later.
Because it’s chronic, it was inevitable that my psoriasis would come back. And it did, once I got into my 20s. It was like having an old childhood friend visit that I hadn’t seen in a long time. But in this case, I wasn’t happy for a reunion.
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, life handed me psoriasis. But it also handed me an opportunity to bring awareness of what living with this skin condition looks like. In future blogs, I’ll tell you about my past experiences, my present struggles and my future fears. Please join in on the conversation and leave comments below!
Callie Dudek is a public relations coordinator at ProMedica. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Toledo.