(February, 1999)

Another Flaking Colitus Sufferer (with Lung Problems)
from Anna P.

Hi Ed! I wrote to you sometime back about the psoriasis on my hands and feet, but don't remember a lot of what I said, except maybe "ouch."

I was reading the January 1999 letters at FLAKE HQ and feel a need to reply. Will do my best to keep it rather short. Yes, I've also had colitus problems for years, and in fact my diarrhea had become so bad that I would have foods go through me in minutes [see link at end]. I could not eat out easily at all. My derm recommended that I take folic acid to help as I was also on Methotrexate, which seemed to make my diarrhea problems worse. Well, what a wonderful relief from a horrible problem! I am so much better and my psoriasis is clearing much faster, but am not sure if it is a result of using the folic acid or the Methotrexate. It is wonderful to be out of so much pain, even though I do not like taking the Metho.

I have, over the past 18 years, visited 3 allergy doctors and 4 dermatologists—a lot of these changes because of moving. The allergy doctors all said it was yeast and the derms all said my problem was psoriasis. I wish they would get it together for our sakes.

I just returned from a trip to New Zealand where I met a man with P on his feet like me. He was telling me all about his painful condition, and how he had been unable to walk . Since he has asthma, he goes to an allergy doc. Well of course he was told that he had to cut back on all yeasts. By the way, he was letting his dog lick his feet and they had been pretty cleared up for several months. He let the dog lick them several times a day. Well, it worked for him. Another thing I noticed when three of we flakers got together was that all of us had lung problems—either chronic bronchial, or asthma problems. What do you think of all of this? -Anna

*****

Ed's Response: I think I'll get a dog.... Hi, Anna! New Zealand, eh? That's one of the places on my wish-to-see list. (An old service buddy of mine emigrated there.) How do you find all these flakers with whom to commiserate? Aside from my on-line life, I rarely run into a flaker.

To be bluntly honest with you, Anna. None of these compound conditions surprise me. P seems to be the type of condition that freely associates with anything. Respiratory maladies all added up affect more people than P, so it's not surprising a lot of people with P will have "lung problems," too. It's exasperating, though, that P co-exists with so many other problems, most of which have to be treated independently and at added cost. I, along with many other flakers, enjoy the exciting duet of P and Diabetes. The D-docs worry about this more than I do. When they see me in my undressed splendiferousness they think I should be wracked with pain. When I disclose that this normally is not the case, they think "neuropathy"—a damaged nervous system often attributed to diabetes. "Can you feel this? Does this hurt?" I wince and say, "Try that again and I'll knock you into next month."

By drawing lines between P and sundry other complaints, we may be trying to instill too much order on an otherwise disorderly universe. Chances are the Metho is helping your P and the folic acid is helping your colitus. There's also a chance that your colitus—because it was obviously stressful—was exacerbating your P (because of the stress) and that your relief from colitus improved the P merely because it reduced the related stress. You can call that "drawing a line," or "making a connection" if you want to. It's kind of up there with, If Fred traveled back in time and accidently crushed a butterfly, then returned to the current time, should he be surprised to find Bill Clinton wasn't the President but instead was a celibate Priest? Interesting as a mind game, but..... Don't go running around squishing butterflies in hope of improving the future!

Stay in touch, Anna. Where are you traveling to next? -Ed

Ulcerative Colitis Became Psoriasis

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