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I've learnt to enjoy every day

I first had Psoriasis when I was about 12 years old, it appeared under my eyes and my elbows.

It didn't worry me much as it came and went and was quite faint. During my teens it appeared in a few more places; knees, back and buttocks. I have forgotten how many different treatments I tried both from GP and "old wives tales" but nothing worked. It became worse through my teens and 20s.

When I became pregnant with my first child I was told it would be better during pregnancy but instead it flared terribly until my skin was about 50% covered with plaques and inverse Psoriasis started in intimate areas and under my breasts. From then on my skin just got worse, the flaking used to embarrass me so much I would wear 2 long sleeved shirts, I would put elastic bands around the wrists of the bottom shirt to prevent dropping flakes of skin after my husband used to remark how "off putting" it was.

I found that words would really hurt me, I no longer did the things I loved because of my skin, no swimming after in my late teens I was asked to get out of a local pool as parents had complained that I shouldn't be in the water with their children. Once a mother pull her child away from sitting on a bus seat next to me and hissed at her child "you might catch it". These experiences affected me deeply and I did all I could to hide as much of myself as possible. By the time I was in my 30s my back, buttocks, belly, thighs, upper arms,elbows, breasts, knees and shins were completely covered with psoriasis, which would crack and split.

I found the only way to manage it so I was fairly comfortable was to bath every other day, rub all the skin flakes off gently after soaking for an hour or so, then plaster myself with aqueous cream as often as practical. In 2010 I plucked up enough courage to get more treatment and was referred to a dermatologist for the first time ever. I received UVB treatment with a steroid cream and in 10 weeks I was cleared completely :). It is returning slowly and I've been referred back to the dermatologist, so fingers crossed.

I've had tendon pain in my wrists and ankles after my eldest son was born, and grew lumps on my wrists over the years and was diagnosed with tenosynovitis, it didn't trouble me too much and would improve with ibuprofen after a few months. In 2005 my pain increased to different areas, especially my sternum area Go prescribed anti inflammatory meds which did help.

All blood tests came back clear with no rise in the inflammation markers. In 2010 I saw a rheumatologist who diagnosed  psoriatic arthritis and started me on oral methotrexate (MTX) that was changed to subcutaneous injections after problems with nausea. I tolerate this much better. The pain of my condition doesn't usually get me down but the grinding fatigue does, often I'm to tired to even climb the stairs, during a flare and I'm now being investigated for secondary fibromyalgia. I've learnt to enjoy every day that I'm well enough to get out and about, and to be gentle with myself when I can't get going.

Submitted by a 51 year old female living in England

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