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Rhiannon shares her experiences of living with psoriasis, from seeing her mum struggle with the condition growing up, to experiencing flare ups as a new mum and how her son changed her perspective on her skin.
I have had psoriasis since I was 16 years old. I don't use anything on prescription anymore BUT I totally get why others do. I've used many medications in the past, one of the most successful for me was ciclosporin, this was actually one of the last medications I used and only did one course if I remember rightly.
I stopped everything around ten years ago. Of course I still have break outs but they’re never as bad now. My worst was around 75% and that was whilst I was still under a doctor’s care. I've not had a bad break out for about 2 years now and fingers crossed it stays that way but who knows what the future holds.
My mum had psoriasis too and it played a big part in the choices I have made. She was diagnosed at 31 and really struggled with it, she hated it and felt disgusting for years. At the time of her diagnosis she was told it wasn't hereditary so never thought that the way she viewed herself could really affect me. She always chased a cure through medication, but suffered unwanted side effects from methotrexate which meant she had to stop taking it. Not long after she was put on a biologic, Stelara, as she had also been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Fortunately this drug worked wonders for her and both her skin and joints would never be an issue for her again, which was lovely to see.
Just over 4 years ago I had a little boy. I was really lucky as I cleared during pregnancy and I remained clear for around 6 months after too. Of course the late nights, lack of sleep, worry and other stresses that come with being a first time mum soon took their toll and my skin started to get out of control quite quickly. I could see my unhealthy traits creeping back in. I cried, I pulled my sleeves down in public, I covered up in the sun, I wouldn't go swimming, I would look at myself in the mirror and all I could see was a monster.
It was then that I realised I was wearing my mum's skin, I was her carbon copy. I'd watched my mum's skin tear her down and break her heart for years. She was clear now but I had decided years ago that I didn't want lifelong medications. I looked at my brown eyed baby boy. He could wear our skin one day too...
At that moment I chose to shake off the chains of psoriasis, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I chose to show my son that there's nothing wrong with me and that I have absolutely nothing to hide. I started taking pictures, I joined groups, I made my own blog about it and I started to show off my condition in public. My psoriasis changed quickly... my acceptance started to heal me. I started to see it for what it was, skin, my skin, my mum's skin, possibly even my son's skin one day too.
That was two years ago, I did clear pretty much completely, now I'm consistently around 10% covered and I'm happy with that. It's made me who I am, and helped me be tougher and more accepting. I don't worry about it, I certainly don't hate it and I know that if I did it would only make it worse.
My mum loved me and my son more than anything. She died a year and a half ago from pancreatic cancer. Fortunately she was here long enough to meet Shay and long enough to watch me conquer my skin in a way she never could. She knew about my blog and she wanted her journey shared. She wanted a better future for the many psoriasis patients that will come long after we are gone.