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Corrinne shares her experience of living with psoriasis over the past 20 years, from learning to cope with the condition as a young woman to her experience of pregnancy and psoriasis.
Hi. My name is Corrinne and I have had psoriasis for 20 years now. I first noticed red patches forming on my elbows when I was 16 years old. I went to the doctor for them to confirm what I already knew. They say psoriasis can be hereditary and my dad has it also. Seems I got the lucky gene. Having psoriasis at such a young age wasn’t too difficult for me as it seemed to be solely on my elbows, which I covered up with long sleeves. As the years went on I started to notice patches appearing on my knees. I hated this. As a young girl wanting to go out into town dressed up I felt I was limited to wearing trousers so people didn’t stare, point or ask too many questions. At 18 I started using steroid cream to help maintain my patches. They never went away.
At the age of 19 I started to work in a private nursery. I loved it and was gaining more confidence within myself more and more each day. The trouble with working in a nursery is you catch everything and for someone with psoriasis this isn’t good! I developed tonsillitis twice in the space of two weeks. After that cleared up I noticed a small red patch forming on my stomach. I thought “oh great!” Then after a week I had lots of patches of various sizes all over my stomach. It then spread all over my legs, arms, back and scalp. I hated it. I wouldn’t go out. I cried most nights because of it. I didn’t even want to go to the doctor for help. I stayed with those patches for 2 years. I tried steroid cream to maintain it but there was far too much to handle. I even tried sitting in a bath of dried seaweed powder because a stall owner promised me it would get rid of my problem! It didn’t!
At 21 I fell pregnant with my first son. To my amazement all of the psoriasis I had over my entire body disappeared! For the first time in years I felt amazing! After I had my son it slowly came back on my knees and elbows which I thought I could handle. I didn’t really have time to think about it. For 3 years it stayed like that. Then after I had my daughter it got worse again. I ended up with it all over me again due to being ill quite often. I went to the doctor this time and they referred me for UVB treatment. That worked a treat. It all went away again. For a month!
Cutting a long story short, I am now 36 and I’ve had light therapy 3 times now along with multiple steroid cream treatments. It does help but the side effects aren’t great. It has aged my skin a lot, especially on my face. So I have decided to just stick with moisturising, sometimes steroid use if it gets a bit bad. After my third pregnancy and the devastating loss of my mother this year it has flared up again a little bit but I am trying to accept the skin I’m in and embrace my psoriasis a bit more. It is part of me. Part of who I am. I won’t let other people’s ignorance about it cause me embarrassment and I have learned to love me a bit more. Red patches and all.