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January-February 2005 Briefing

An Apology for Nov-Dec 2004 Operating Glitches ...

You may have noticed FlakeHQ was “unavailable” for a couple of weekends over the last two months.  I upgraded the site’s server service and traffic overwhelmed the bandwidth allotment twice.  That’s a geekish way of saying twice I underestimated the amount of traffic the site would get, so the “parking lot” set aside by my site provider filled twice and others were told to “go away until another day.”

Despite the unavailable days for some, in December FlakeHQ had almost 7,000 unique visitors (a total of over 35,000 hits on its pages).  The bandwidth allotment for FlakeHQ has been increased now for the third time and both I and my service provider feel pretty certain there won’t be any more “down time” for anybody.  (Of course, if you do get shut out, please let me know:  mailto:[email protected].)

... and a long-overdue “Thanks”

Now would be a good time (though somewhat awkward) for me to say Thank You to all the flakers throughout the world who have helped build FlakeHQ.   I started this site at about the time the concept of “virtual community” was beginning to take off.   The idea was that web sites facilitating visitor communications, sporting content that is largely user-provided, would prove popular.  That seems to be the case for this site, which is built by and for people with psoriasis — people who flake. 

Our community has become a very important place for me, personally.  I rather doubt anybody else could have derived as many “therapeutic benefits” as I have from the many hundreds of new friends and cyber-acquaintances I’ve made over the years.  I do not exaggerate when I insist my own ability to cope with our shared disease is largely a consequence of my association with all of you.  It seems odd to me — but that’s because I’m part of an older generation — that I could, at any time, pass most of you on a busy sidewalk and haven’t the slightest idea that I’ve done so.  Yet every day I get email — some from strangers, but a lot from long-time correspondents — that makes me feel part of an intimate company.  I’ve long-since stopped cursing my P for, looking beyond its miseries, it has brought me all of you.  In the end I’m sure I will think the skin stuff was a small price to pay.

The soon-to-be-retired book that Started it All

Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic, was the little book I wrote in 1995 and published in 1996 and originally set up FlakeHQ.com to promote.  It has always been a weird beast for which I've felt equal measures of pride and embarrassment.  I published the book because I believed then  — and still do — that there must be room in the literature for a book about P that does not make a clinical assessment and that doesn't promise physical relief from the disease, but does offer an hour or two of sharing from someone who knows what its like to have psoriasis.  And if, in the time it takes to read, we can share a laugh or two?  All the better! 

Little did I know in the late months of 1996, when, trembling, I sent my manuscript off to the National Psoriasis Foundation and hoped not to get too badly beaten up, that they would like the book, and I would feel sufficiently bolstered to launch the web site and then, across nearly a decade, the web site would become incredibly more consequential to me than the book.

In fact, it had been over a year when, a few weeks ago, I opened Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic for a nostalgic re-read.

I had truly lost track of how many "advances" for treating psoriasis were made in the nine years that have lapsed since I wrote Flake.  

If for no other reason than its "outdatedness," it is beyond time for Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic to be retired.  

From now through April, Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic will be available at the "liquidation price" of $6.50 per copy (includes shipping).  After that, no more copies will be sold.  To learn more about the book, go to Articles and visit any of the links connected to the book.  To take advantage of the liquidation sale, you can print out an order form here.

The Psoriasis and Skin Clinic in Australia

Four and a half years ago I started to receive emails about the Dr. Tirant’s Psoriasis and Skin Clinic in Australia (several locations).  The initial correspondence was posted at FlakeHQ in May, 2000, as Dr. Tirant’s Treatment in Australia . 

Dr. Tirant isn’t a dermatologist, but he “is a Medical Research Scientist, Biochemist with a PhD in this field, and is a Skin Practitioner specializing in the treatment of Psoriasis and other skin conditions.”  He has concocted, collaborated and, now, manufacturers some of the products used in his treatment regimen.

Rather than revisit an old argument that requires way too many words, let me just say that I do not regard Dr. Tirant as a “snake oil salesman.”  I believe, from what I’ve read and correspondence I have received, that he has helped people with P.  In my thinking, it would be a large sin to disregard Dr. Tirant and his work, just as it would be similarly bad to disregard Pagano, Connolly, or any number of chiropractic, naturopathic and “alternative” approaches to treating P.  (I am constantly reminding myself that the American Medical Association and everything for which it stands is NOT a religion; therefore, being an AMA disciple is a pretty pitiable state.  Regarding anything NOT sanctioned by AMA and FDA as “the enemy” is, at best, stupid and, at worst, a form of intellectual terrorism — but that’s just my opinion.)

In November I received a long email from Ms. Margaret Babanine, the new Sales & Marketing Manager for The Psoriasis & Skin Clinic [www.psoriasisandskinclinic.com/].  I thought long and hard about posting it here — virtually everything I’ve read that comes from Dr. Tirant’s operation is compelling — but in the end decided I would, instead, drop these words into this Briefing. 

If you are interested in an alternative approach to P treatment, visit the web site (click on link in preceding paragraph).  And, as always, FlakeHQ stands ready to post emails from flakers who want to share their experiences (here’s one  — also from 2000 — from a patient of Dr. Tirant).

*****

The recent Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami affected several countries in which FlakeHQ has readers and correspondents.  We have no way of knowing how closely touched by this disaster our friends have been, but we are thinking of them all and join the rest of the world with best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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