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Having had psoriasis for 20 years Janine shares her story and how she found relief through exercise, including running two half marathons in support of the Psoriasis Association.
My name is Janine Price, I am 42 and happily married, with a son aged 20 and a daughter of 12, and we live in Wales.
I was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 22 during my 1st pregnancy. When I first went to see my doctor I was told it was chicken pox. Two weeks later I returned and my usual doctor had returned and I was diagnosed with psoriasis. Treatment during pregnancy was difficult and it got much worse. My problems were scalp psoriasis, and plaque psoriasis on my knees, hands, elbows and a few other places, along with nail psoriasis.
I have always worked since leaving school and most people I have worked with have been understanding of my condition but others made comments and remarks which have been upsetting. One day I put fuel in my car and went to pay and the cashier said ‘what’s wrong with you, is it contagious?’ and then pulled her hands away and I had to slide the money for payment while she reluctantly touched it.
I always enjoyed swimming, and was keen for my children to develop this life skill at a young age but eventually I gave up taking them swimming locally and enrolled them in swimming lessons as I couldn’t face people staring or asking if I was contagious, and sat and watched while my husband took them swimming. Swimming for me was something that only happened on holidays, and then I would get stares.
During my 3rd pregnancy (sadly I had a miscarriage on my 2nd pregnancy), my psoriasis cleared. Unfortunately after a few months it reappeared and gradually got worse. Again, I tried all the lotions and potions. When nothing else worked I was prescribed methotrexate in 2015 but this didn’t work and I suffered side effects including hair loss, headaches and other problems.
Being quite run down, I decided I needed to escape to the sunshine – this had always helped in the past, even if it was short term. We booked a last minute escape to Gran Canaria from the UK. Our daughter became friends with another girl from the UK, and I got chatting to her Mum. She asked me had I ever tried looking at nutrition and exercise? During 18 long years this had never been suggested to me (We are now best friends).
I changed my diet (which included using some supplements to aid deficiencies I have) and also found what seemed to trigger flare ups (by keeping a food diary) and experienced an improvement in my skin, and also benefitted from losing weight. I was able to start exercising and soon my skin and weight significantly improved.
I began a couch to 5k program with a friend and after 8 months ran my 1st ever half marathon in 2016 and raised money for psoriasis. I also did the Cardiff Half Marathon again in 2017 proudly wearing my psoriasis vest.
My skin is still clear 3 years on and with the same friend (Kathryn) I have developed an award winning fitness group for women and girls and now help lots of people to be physically active. We have a couch to 5k group, 5k +, light exercise class with chair based movements to music, a boot camp session, and children's gymnastics. All because I feel better and because exercise has been very significant for me.
I actively raise awareness of psoriasis and the other issues that can be caused by it and will continue to support Psoriasis UK .