Communications (Jan/Feb, 1998)

Resolved but Not Capitulating
from Jose J. R.

Dear Ed: I am 21 and have suffered from psoriasis since having chicken pox at the age of 13. A bad brush with steroids left me virtually crippled with the condition, although it has slowly improved. The most amusing thing was people thought the psoriasis on my face was sun burn. I am on virtually no medication at the moment and things are a lot better, but there is still no part of my body totally free.

On your mail page there were several people complaining about the difficulty of forming relationships while suffering from psoriasis. Psoriasis can at times be debilitating and leaves you feeling bad about yourself. (I have sat in many lectures attempting to write down notes while holding the sleeves of my jumper over my hands. Tricky, but possible. However, during the past three years at university I have come to terms with having psoriasis and think of it almost as a friend (one who doesn't feel obliged to give anything back for all it takes) and during this time I have dated several people, broken off an engagement (too much too soon) and formed a much larger circle of friends. At the end of the day people's first reaction is yuck (great if you want a train car to yourself) but if you believe in yourself people will see beyond it, and nowadays I have few problems at all.

Any way, for scalp psoriasis I have found rubbing olive oil in and leaving it overnight helps. Some people also use it on small patches on the body, something to do with some vitamin or something. The other plus is that it leaves your hair really shiny. -Jose J. R.


Ed's Reply: Thanks for writing, Jose. I hope Chris (preceding correspondent this month) takes heart from your experience. Your summation is worth repeating: If you believe in yourself people will see beyond [your psoriasis].

The next relationship challenge becomes this: "I love Ed to death, would do anything for him, anything with him, but good heavens, don't ask me to put him through having to accompany me to the fancy-dress ball!" I'd like to seed some discussion among we Flake HQers about how you help friends and loved-ones through the awkwardness of being associated with "us" in public. Comments? Anyone? -Ed

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