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Veronica shares her experiences of living with psoriasis; from the impact of COVID-19 infection on her skin, to how identifying and being mindful of her triggers has helped her to feel more in control and better able to manage flare-ups.
Skin conditions have been part of me for most of my life. My background to this diagnosis is that I have always had a flaky scalp, but so did members of my family so I thought that this was just an ‘us thing’. In my teens my scalp got worse and worse, I loved the smell of Polytar shampoo, so again just thought that was how it was. On top of which I suffer from a genetic skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa, which means my skin cells do not fit together. So, the flaky scalp was part of the whole scenario.
However, the turning point when this condition, psoriasis, really started to affect my life was in my early forties. I was working in a difficult job, under challenging conditions and suddenly, in the matter of weeks I was covered in these itchy dots and my ears and hairline seemed to be turning into something else. When I was on the train, I got some strange looks from other passengers due to the sores on my arms, I could not wear black and had to brush down seats when I had been sat on them. So that was the time to cover up and not wear dark colours. My GP thought I had eczema and I had all the medication, but it did not seem to have any lasting effect. So, I was referred to see a dermatologist who confirmed I had psoriasis. This was a game changer, I had targeted medication and advice. All was good until Covid.
I was doing ok until last Summer when the psoriasis was doing its own thing. I had a snow flurry following me around, and then developed tiny blisters on my legs. Again, I went to see my dermatologist and they prescribed Enstilar foam, which is fantastic. So, all good. I have been looked after by the NHS and never short of any medication etc.
Then I caught COVID in February this year. I knew something was wrong because for me psoriasis is like an early warning system. If something’s wrong, I have a flare up. So that is not so good. However, I am now, unlike in the past, fully prepared. I know what I need to do, take, and have the medical support. I also know that I have my triggers, such as worry, so I try to reduce these as much as I can.
My concerns are that coming out of the pandemic, I still have two skin conditions to manage with the same triggers. Which can be tricky. I wish I had gone to the doctors and dermatologist sooner than I did but hindsight is a wonderful thing. On a hugely positive note, I now have the toolkit and support to manage this condition, which is leaps and bounds for me from 10 years ago. And here I am in black, again!
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