I Am A Mom With Psoriasis

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I am a mom.  I also have a chronic medical condition.  I have been living with psoriasis for over ten years.  What is psoriasis?  It is thought  to be an autoimmune disorder where your immune system attacks healthy skin and in doing so the skin sheds skin cells much faster than the average person.  Where most people shed their skin every thirty days, I shed mine every three in these areas.  The constant activity does not allow the skin cells to fall off, and causes irritation so I am left with whitish scales over red inflamed skin.  There is no cure, and not all treatments work for all people.  Much about the condition is just not known. 

I remember when I noticed two scaly bumps on my right knee.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I was very embarrassed about the appearance of my new rough skin patches.  In those early days I was obsessed with the aesthetics of my condition.  I remember seeing the dermatologist for the first time, and hearing the news that I would probably have these lesions for the rest of my life.  I was so depressed.  The worst part was that the lesions were growing, and there was no cure.

 

Fast forward ten years and I no longer seek the help of a dermatologist.  I have given up on the creams, body washes, and diets that promise clear skin.  I have watched my lesions grow and shrink.  I have adapted to the unknown associated with my condition.  I am still embarrassed in some situations, however.  I still cover my knees when I go out.  Although, I have psoriasis on my knees, elbows, knuckles, the top of one foot, and small spots scattered throughout my body, it is still my knees that bother me the most.  I am used to the pain of bending down and having my knees crack open and start bleeding.  I have adjusted my schedule to allow for my ritualistic lotion application after my showers.  Tis what I do.

So, I itch, and I scratch.  Sometimes I wake up with bloody sheets because of scratching at my knees in my sleep.  But, over all I have adjusted to my condition. 

My children are used to my skin.  They don’t remember a time when I didn’t have psoriasis.  I do my best to explain this condition to them, and I often explain it to their friends.  I worry about whether or not any of my kids will end up with these scaly patches of skin.  After all, it is known to run in families.  But, I do not want to scare them with the fact that it may be inherited.  I would like to leave them money when I die not chronic conditions.  I do hope that they see these imperfections in their mommy and take that with them through out theirs lives.  I want this to be a lesson to them that judging a person solely on the exterior is easy, but not always the best idea.  It is wise to ask questions about a condition before judging someone.  Many people who see my knuckles assume I have been in a fist fight.  This cracks me up because I am very non-violent, and am usually walking around with my five children.  I am like “no this mommy is not a scrapper!”  We all judge, but at least we can make judgments on facts, not our own assumptions.  Or, that is what I am  teaching my kids. 

I try not to complain about my condition.  I almost feel guilty when I do complain because it could be so much worse.  I have cried for mothers suffering with much worse plights than my own.  Who am I to complain over itchy skin when there are mothers with no legs working so hard to be treated and feel “normal”.

Only now I fear it is getting worse.  While 2% of the population is afflicted with psoriasis, 10% of those people will at some point develop psoriatic arthritis.  Like rheumatoid arthritis this can be a crippling condition which knows no age barriers.  That’s right at 32 I very well may be starting down a path of a much more difficult way of being.  For months, my right foot has caused me a bit of discomfort.  I have tried new shoes, old shoes, no shoes to ease my aching foot.  I honestly did not think it was anything to worry about.  It seemed like a normal pain until I noticed that my fourth toe on that foot has started changing direction.  A funny bend in my toe now catches my eye.  Dr. Google says this could be the start of a hammer toe.  With no health insurance I am limited to the knowledge and fear inspiring diagnosis’s of the internet. 

Okay so my toe is turning it could be worse.  Great now it is getting worse.  The morning time ache in my right foot has turned in to an all day ache with swelling around the joint on my fourth toe.  Which, I was coping with until this morning when I woke up with my left foot hurting and my left pinky finger joint swollen, hot, and painful.  Oh no, is this how it starts?  Does arthritis just pop up in the middle of the night?

I have taken two extra strength ibuprofen which has afforded me slightly more range of motion in my left pinky and the ability to walk with out hobbling.  However, I am still in pain. But, as all mothers know there are no sick days for mommy so I am struggling through the pain and moving on with my day.  I don’t know what the next step is for me.  I don’t know if there are agencies that help people with no insurance receive care for chronic conditions.  I am going to consult Dr. Google on this matter to see if there is a way for me to go to the doctor.

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