This year's London Marathon will be Rachel's eleventh marathon, but her first for nearly 10 years following having a family and developing psoriasis. She's been kind enough to run in support of the Psoriasis Association.
She says 'I first developed psoriasis at the grand old age of
47, 2 years ago. It started as a rash on one arm after gardening in the
sun. Then my feet developed a rash after some enthusiastic hoovering and
then over a week it spread to both arms and legs. It took a while to
diagnose as guttate psoriasis. I probably hit all the triggers for psoriasis –
stress at work and home, a cut from a rose bush, constant sore throats for the
preceding 6 months, having had a child in my 40s and with menopause looming,
all my hormones being awry. What was extra galling was the fact that I have had
acne since the age of 9 and this just seemed one extra thing for my skin
to throw at me. Whether age related or psoriasis affected, I also have
arthritis in various joints now.
I tried various topical steroids but none seemed to
have much effect after the initial weeks and the psoriasis spots have seemed to
all merge together – although I think this is the purple patches left by the
steroid treatment. The greatest result I had was UVB light therapy for 7
weeks last Summer, which wasn’t quite long enough; it cleared my arms
temporarily but my legs could have done with a few extra weeks. I have
recently tried Acitretin (a retinoid) for 2 months. It did have good
effects on my psoriasis but lots of side effects, so have temporarily stopped using
it. Bye, bye to my eyelashes, and hello to painful nails, very sore lips, itchy
and cold skin, and the whole of my feet peeling off – not good when trying to
run! Will try again later. So currently just on Dovonex a vitamin D ointment
and the psoriasis is creeping back.
I really enjoy running and being outside, and
it really helps with stress, building confidence and keeping fit. After having
a child, running again was one of my markers for being back to normal. Although
I have struggled with getting the time to run consistently and not getting
injured. I have run 10 marathons before, of which 7 were London
Marathons – but my last Marathon was in 2010. This will be my first
long distance run for nearly 10 years and my first with psoriasis. For me psoriasis has affected what I wear, particularly in Summer
or when running. I am hoping I will have the confidence to
get my running shorts out again and show people you can run and enjoy sports no
matter what your legs or body looks like!
Now that I have psoriasis it has been amazing how
many of my friends and colleagues also have said they have it or know someone
who does. I had never heard of it before and am very interested in the
underlying causes and information about psoriasis.'
You can find Rachel's fundraising page here