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“Don’t Say This” Has Helped
from Whitefire F.

Hi Ed Dewke:

RE: Your flakeHQ site's Don't Say This section

Absolutely hilarious, except when it is not. I am and have been for 15 years a massage therapist. I always thought this skin problem of mine was poison oak since it comes and goes and itches like crazy before it breaks out wildly, whether I scratch it or not. Blamed it on my cat, the horses which eat poison oak, poor diet, hiking on the land where I live, lotions, allergies....

Currently blaming myself for a broken down immune system, I finally did some research, checking to see if this round might be contagious.  More stress, worry. The last few times it did not quite look like poison oak, more dry and broken/bleeding. (I now recall this happening before, but blamed it on scratching the mysterious "poison oak.")

Am still not yet sure I am a flake, but my dad was. We blamed his on the laundry detergent we used.  I need to see about my bleeding flaking hand. Need to see a Dr. but because this has been recurring, I have been off and on work and have literally a few cents in my pocket.

Years of embarrassment about this. Until reading the things you and your contributors have written.  Sounds so much like my situation. Mild flake on the head, recurrence of itchy hands, sometimes feet. Tried all these things, avoiding this or that, eating this and not that, herbs, potions, lotions, meds — nothing really helping long term.

Hiding the breaks on the skin so I don't lose my job. Wondering if it gets worse, if I will be able to use latex gloves or will they exacerbate it? Wondering if I will get "let go" from the independent contractor status, if I use them, or if I don't use them but just don't touch that part.

For me mostly occurring hands and feet. Had it under my armpit once, elbows once. Once I had it for months and quit bodywork, it looked like poison oak for a while at first, then blamed it on the lotions as they seemed to be what made me break out, so I got back into the profession. Finally saw pictures of psoriasis and thought “Oh, its this.” Maybe.

The stress of this has been so huge, I have been working on getting another biz up and running — my life coaching biz — but I kept depleting funds from my jobs as a massage therapist, due to breakouts. Perhaps I should have put the money into insurance instead of learning curve for marketing the practice on the net, but I think not.  I still am blaming myself for stress inducing it. (Where's MY coach?  I need to talk to her.  Ha!)

At least now, I am pretty sure psoriasis is what it is. My dad was diagnosed with psoriasis, my brother got out of being in the army because of “ichthyosis” which could be flake psoriasis. Even scrapers don't work for him.

Anyway, the “Don’t Say This” section was so funny, because it spoke to all of the cookoo things I have overheard, and even once or twice I think I said dumb things to clients, not knowing what they were dealing with, as they did not either. And, the comments from my coworker to someone about me and my itching. And my embarrassment. It all makes sooo much sense. And, all the Doctors and Derms not knowing!  All these different diagnoses.  Wasted money and time.  Geeez Louise!

Some of the stress of all this left me just from reading “Don’t Say This.”  I laughed so much. Thank you for that. And it made me realize how easy I have it, comparatively.

I guess it is likely good bye to massage. Time to get my business plan together to be read by outside folks and go asking, while I bust buns at some temp work.  (Do people live on these wages?)

Let it be known, you have been helpful and now I have another referral site for when things are up online.

Good night, ahh, morning.  -Whitefire F.


Ed’s Response:  Glad to hear our collection of utterances in the “Don’t Say This Section” had its intended effect on you, Whitefire.  Now we need to get you beyond blaming yourself for your broken down immune system.  In your case, especially, a big factor has been genetics — since your Dad has it. 

But I’m not suggesting you might not have done something “avoidable” that triggered it.  Most of us can carry around that little bit of guilt.  I probably had the genetic proclivity to flake, but a couple of decades of true debauchery (certainly “avoidable”) on my part didn’t help.  What can we say but “Oh well?”

Do yourself a favor and call the National Psoriasis Foundation for a referral to a dermatologist in your area (800-723-9166).  You’ve been living without a confident diagnosis for too long. -Ed

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