Jenny's Story

Stress during the pandemic impacted teacher Jenny's skin. In her story she talks about recognising her triggers, how she stays positive and taking part in PsoProtectMe.

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I have had psoriasis since I was two years old. As a performer I struggled enormously and relied on kind wardrobe and make-up teams to help me cover up. I now teach drama in a secondary school. 

I have tried everything from steroids to UVB but with no lasting success. In 2018 I read two books: Healing Psoriasis by Dr John Pagano; and Radiant by Hanna Sillitoe. I began Hanna’s regime in September 2018. The diet is about building up a diverse gut health and cutting out inflammatory foods (alcohol, caffeine, gluten, meat, dairy and nightshades) relaxing, exercising and lowering stress. I focused on what I could eat, rather than what I couldn’t.

Six months later there were significant changes, by April 2019 I was able to go swimming and by July 2019 my skin was clear, bar one or two spots. I wore a bikini, swam and wore shorts, t-shirts and skirts in the summer.

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Then 2020 and lockdown. My son, my daughter, her boyfriend, and my mum moved in. Suddenly we were all working from home as well as trying to find personal space for ourselves. I knew that this was going to be a huge challenge for me with regard to stress and my diet, which definitely went awry, as I had to eat ‘wrong’ foods often because items were out of stock in the shops.

To stay positive my daughter and I took up Couch to 5k – which I am continuing. I practiced my clarinet, my singing and tried not to get too stressed by school work, which was full on.

My skin flared up on my legs and my back by April, but by July it calmed down a lot and I was able to wear shorts again, although I still have it on my back. Something I have learnt in lockdown is to recognise triggers. When my step-daughter contracted Covid-19, my face immediately broke out in psoriasis. As she recovered, so did my face.

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Soon, I will be back at school teaching 250 children weekly. I have joined the PsoProtectMe study to find out how Covid-19 affects psoriasis sufferers for the benefit of both me and my family. I know that I need to continue to work hard on my diet, my stress levels and my exercise, but I am very proud of what I have achieved so far and at how far I have come. 

If you'd like to help support vital research into COVID-19 and psoriasis please take the PsoProtectMe survey. The survey is for everyone with psoriasis to complete, irrespective of whether you have had symptoms of COVID-19 or not.

Read more real-life stories from people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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