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You Do Karate
Hey Dewke! How are ya?
Last time I heard from you, you weren't doing so hot. Something about
psoriasis? Go figure! (I just can't refer to it as P it just makes
it seem too damn important). Anyway, I really do hope you are doing
Unfortunately, I do
not have any words of wisdom for you. My whole defense strategy for this
is to try to ignore it the best that I can. Ha ha! That's a good one,
right? No, no magical cures, no Major Life Change, no vitamins, no dietary
advice (eat what I can, when I can?), just some random bitchin’ and
moanin’. All the Optimists and Healthy People do make me feel just a
little guilty. Yes! I am drinking coffee right now! The caffeinated kind,
too! Yes! I probably do deserve this, I probably deserve a lot more than
I do have a
partially-non-related-to-psoriasis-though-often-in-debate question for ya.
I know, you're probably thinking, don't I answer enough questions?
It's just that you're the only person I know who has actually quit
the habit for good. I've been
smoking those damn butts for about ten years now. Some
months back I quit, for two months! But
only I didn't feel better! I felt worse! Needless to say, I started up
again (and I was so, so proud, too; I'm the one in 50 billion people who
actually succeeded in quitting ... almost ... doesn't count huh?) Any
I was gonna ask you a
psoriasis-related question having to do with translating the side effects
of corticosteroids. You know how doctors speak a foreign language? Well,
it doesn't sound like something I'd want, I mean, it's awful hard to
pronounce ... and you know it's gotta be something so simple, too. Do they
not speak our language so it makes them sound smarter? Anyway, I decided
I'm gonna ask my dermatologist tomorrow, make him work for his money, you
know ... I don't even really know why I have to go. It's like we just have
to say hi! every two months.
You know what he said
to me last time? "Isn't the skin fun?!" I think maybe he was
being sarcastic. See, we got into this argument about whether or not my
hand problem was actually psoriasis. "It looks eczemous to me,"
he says. What the f@!k am I?! The poster child for skin disease?! When
people ask me what I have the only for-sure answer is Really f@!ked up
skin. Two people at my job have asked me if I punched somebody. What kind
of question is that? Do I really seem like the type of person who goes
around punching people? My favorite was the stranger who asked me if I
take karate. "Yeah, my hands looked like that from slammin’m
against the boards." Maybe I should start telling people I do karate.
It just sounds so much cooler than, "No, they're just diseased."
Last time I went for a
visit to my dermatologist he asked me, "What bothers you the most
about this?" It seemed like such an odd question, and strangely I
found myself at a loss for words. Maybe it's the itch, maybe it's that no
matter how well I can ignore it the reality for everyone else is that it
is something very nasty. Or maybe it is that it is still spreading. It's
always spreading, slowly.
Anyway, I really just
wanted to chat. I know your time really is probably very valuable to you
and I certainly don't have any special words of wisdom to offer, it's just
that I can't really bitch about this to normal people, because strangely
enough it seems only to evoke a response of pity. Poor, poor nasty thing.
Or worse yet, You've got a what?! a skin problem?! I'll tell you about
problems... Or, no, this has got to be the worst. You know, the person who
has Got The Cure. They tell you why you have it and they've got the
solution. (My favorite is, "Looks like you just need to put a little
lotion on that," though the complex explanations are really a lot of
fun too, you know, the people who Know
All About It). Anyway, I'll leave you alone now. Oh, Dewke, just humor
me. I'll tell you what. From now on you can just skip through my message
and reply, "Thanks for sharing! I really learned a lot!"
And you really don't
have to post this, either. I'm afraid people might think I'm crazy. It's
not me, though, it's everybody else, right? (Oddly enough, I'm not so much
worried about you ... you did write a book about it, after all ...
entitled Flake.) (Just Kidding!)
I've got a cat’s litterbox that’s full, a pile of laundry, and a bunch
of dirty dishes. Yes, there is life aside from psoriasis... See ya, buddy.
Hang in there! -Courtney J.
Not post this? What an
oversight that would be! I
always enjoy your emails, Courtney, and I know most (perhaps not all)
FlakeHQ readers do, too.
Your email address has
changed. At least, that’s
true if you are Courtney J. If
you aren’t that Courtney,
please email and I’ll correct all this.
But I’m betting money you are
the Courtney I enjoy to read so much!
(Readers: Search on
“Courtney J.” on the home
page for past correspondence.)
Re: quitting smoking.
About twenty years ago I worked with an older man (now deceased)
who had quit smoking in his forties (as I did). At the time I was in my
early thirties and smoking with no particular urge to quit.
When I learned this gentleman had quit I asked him why and how and
if he ever felt the urge to start up again.
What I remember about his response is this:
you’ve smoked for as many years as I have, I don’t believe you really
quit. You just pause for
awhile and maybe the pause will last until you die.
If I had one cigarette today, I’d have two packs tomorrow.
My health wasn’t
enough to compel me to quit for good.
I had a “heart incident” (something less than a heart attack,
but something significant enough to land me in cardiac intensive care over
night) in 1986 and thereafter I stopped smoking for five years.
I resumed again and smoked until acquiring my family (via
marriage). Shortly after that
a combination of health and other concerns compelled me to stop again.
The health issue was the onset of Type 1 diabetes.
The principal other concern was my desire not
to be an example of “smoking-is-okay” to my children and
grandchildren. I do believe
the cliché that intones one
must WANT to stop smoking to do so.
Your story about hands
badly messed up from P being confused with skin trauma caused by Karate
practice has definitely caught MY interest. While
I hope my hands never flare so badly again, if and when they do, I will
use this line. Would you believe this comes from karate practice?
Cinderblocks, bricks and bones
— not wood.
I’ve rehearsed it three times in front of a mirror to achieve
believability. It’s a good
line to have in reserve. Thanks,
Oh by the way — You
can only become the Poster Child for Skin Diseases when I agree to cede
the position. <wink>
Keep those emails
coming, Courtney! -Ed