Do you have a story to tell about living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis?
Personal journeys: 2012
My psoriasis started when I was 14 and I received the usual coal tar ointment and sun-ray treatments at the local hospital. It wasn't until my daughter was born that a couple of my fingers became swollen. After the birth of my son 4 years later the condition deteriorated. I was living aboard and came home to the UK for specialist attention, it was then that psoriatic arthropathy was diagnosed.
I was seventeen and had been experiencing pain in my legs for a while, usually on my way to catch the school bus in the morning. I put it down to being unfit and dismissed it. As far as I was concerned my only health problem was psoriasis, which I had suffered with since childhood.
I first noticed a small patch of what I thought was eczema on my right leg. I was not too concerned even though it did not respond to any of the normal applications. The condition seemed to come and go so it didn't affect me unduly.
After a dermatologist diagnosed psoriasis I had many periods in hospital for intensive treatment, which consisted of ultraviolet light therapy and tar baths. The only problem being that I eventually became allergic to some of the creams, and could only tolerate less than three minutes of ultra violet light before burning.
My psoriasis started when I was ten years old, itchy red patches with silvery scaly skin which fell off every time I moved. I was admitted to hospital for a month during which time I endured pain and the humiliation of a treatment which included foul smelling creams and baths, scrubbing my skin with a brush and having part of my scalp pulled off by nurses using a 'nit comb' to remove scales from my hair! Once my skin had cleared I was allowed home, but the psoriasis quickly returned.
I was diagnosed to be suffering from psoriatic arthritis when I was my early thirties. I experienced pain and stiffness in my knees, especially the right, with the symptoms hinting of arthritis but because all the blood tests showed no abnormality it was not till after an arthroscopy on the right knee later that year that the Consultant diagnosed PsA.
Most people do not seem to be conscious of the need for a healthy skin until they have a problem, possibly because most people seem to be able to get away with it; but for a few of us it is not so easy.
I was only 14 years old when my family moved to another part of the country, it was a very distressing time for me as all my friends were left behind. I began to notice dry scaly patches all over my body, under my nails and on my head, behind my ears and all over my limbs, although my face was not affected. I covered up but felt dirty scratching my body all the time. People would stare and I could hear nasty comments - you feel isolated being a teenager with something wrong with
After having suffered for several months from what my unsympathetic doctor called 'chilblains' in my blue sausage-shaped toes, apart from the fact that I could only walk with difficulty and had a large patch of psoriasis on one of my legs, I was diagnosed as having psoriatic arthritis.
I contracted psoriasis at the age of 6 and have had it ever since (I am now 58). I remember it very clearly. I just woke up one morning and looked at my hands and feet and they were encrusted in this horrible scaly stuff. I screamed my head off. My parents were very distressed as well since they did not know what was wrong.