I am married to James and I am a first-time Mum to our beautiful daughter, Isla. We live in a town just outside of Glasgow, really close-by to all of our family; we see each other nearly every day. We’re like the Walton’s with a Scottish accent.
I have had psoriasis for nearly a decade, as long as I have been teaching. Coincidence? I think not.
Outside of primary teaching I am a very active person. I grew up training to be a dancer. My life revolved around dance. Now I am all about the yoga. I am currently training to be a Yogabellies teacher. I love swimming and there’s nothing better than getting outside for a long walk, although in Scotland, it’s for the fresh air rather than the vitamin D.
So I should have glowing skin, right? Wrong.
As you can imagine, I used to feel a little hard done by with my skin. I have always been active. I’ve never been overweight (tell that to my 16 year old self). I’ve never even tried smoking (a puff of a cigar ONCE after holidaying in Cuba doesn’t count), or drank to excess (well, for a Scot), and my diet has always been relatively healthy (albeit a little heavy handed with chocolate).
No one else in my family has ever had psoriasis that we know of. So why did I have it? It is something I have had to learn about on my own. One of the reasons I am so passionate about spreading awareness is because I suddenly felt so alone with this disease I could barely spell, never mind control. I want to help others who suddenly find themselves with this chronic illness which affects so much more than your skin.
For me it started as tiny little patches which were originally misdiagnosed by a GP as dermatitis. I tried plenty of lotions, potions and old wives’ tales to try to clear my skin. Not much helped.
Fast forward a couple of years during a particularly stressful year at work and my guttate psoriasis covered nearly 60% of my body. I soldiered on. There was a lot of trial and error with many different topical treatments. Then my psoriasis became pustular; hundreds of tiny whiteheads covered my already inflamed, raw, itchy skin. This led to me being hospitalised for over 2 weeks.
That was a couple of years back.
Although I still have patches of psoriasis on my body, I have also experienced periods of clear skin thanks to certain treatments and a shift in mindset and lifestyle. I now feel much better educated about psoriasis and I feel equipped at managing any flare ups when they do occur. A newborn and sleepless nights has certainly been a testing time.
Thanks to the online psoriasis community, my own personal research and continuing an open dialogue as an NHS outpatient, I have all the tools I need to own my psoriasis and not let it own me.