Matt's story

Matt's psoriasis first appeared during a stressful period when he was just 5 years old. Now in his forties, with great support from his wife, he is accepting of his psoriasis but refuses to let it stop him doing what he loves.

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When I was 5 years old, my mum and dad were going through a divorce and as a child who loved them both and frankly idolised my dad, I didn't really take it well. I guess I couldn't understand it at such a young age. It wasn't long before my first little patch of psoriasis appeared on my bellybutton. At first I was diagnosed with a fungal infection and given a bit of cream to deal with it. Unfortunately the cream had no effect, and not only was that patch getting bigger, but more were appearing. I forget exactly where, but it was coming on thick and fast. My doctor referred me to a dermatologist at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton and from there I was given the diagnosis of psoriasis which had quite obviously come on due to stress.

The years went on and after various ointments and creams, awful smelling shampoos and this one ointment that made me smell like week old roadkill, I was put into a trial for a brand new ointment. This meant blood tests, being poked and prodded by various doctors and specialists until after the trial was over and I was told that Dovonex was the new treatment that I had been trialling. It worked, for a while, but like every other treatment before it, my skin just got used to it and it no longer worked. I've had light treatment twice which, again, is great for a period of time but wears off and it's back to the normality of having psoriasis.

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As a teenager it was perhaps most difficult. Feeling like a bit of a freak because my body wasn't the same as everyone else's. Being questioned about it and even bullied. So I wrapped up. Even in the Summer I wore joggers and jumpers to hide it. It even caused a problem in relationships. Getting moaned at because I made a "mess" or constantly being told to stop scratching. Everyone is an expert, with I think my favourite miracle cure being when a lady told me to rub banana skins over the infected areas. Now I don't know how she came to this conclusion, perhaps she tried a variation of fruits before so. I smile and nod of course, to be polite, but there's more chance of hell freezing over than me walking round smelling like a fruit cocktail.

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However, at 41 years old, I am completely accepting of my psoriasis. I no longer bother the doctors and just moisturise daily, use skin friendly soaps and shampoos. I am very lucky to have a wife who instead of complaining, helps me. She rubs cream into my skin. She was shocked once when I had scratched so much that opened my skin up, but she didn't tell me off, she helped. You see, there have been times when I have been so down about my skin that I've used a washing up sponge, the rough ones, in the bath to try and scrape my skin away, but not anymore. I wear shorts and vests most of the time and I now know it is just a part of me. I am currently experiencing symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis, but I don't let it get in the way of my life. I refuse to allow it to stop me doing what I want and love.

I simply tell people that I have skin like Deadpool. I call it my mutant healing factor. This condition I suppose you'd call it, can cause so much. At worst respiratory problems and it can seriously affect a person's mental health as well, but as long as you can get to a point you can be at peace with it, then how bad is it really?