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Ed~ I’ve been
reading all the mail you have here, tearing up, feeling the pain that
everyone has suffered dealing with this life-long misery we all know too
I was first
diagnosed with “P,” as you all call it, when I was 11. The
dermatologist determined mine was brought about by stress. At 11? The
outbreaks have continued for the last 20 years, and have been brought on
by many things. My triggers are quite varied. The last two outbreaks
I’ve had have been brought on by bouts with strep throat.
I didn’t see
a lot mentioned about that in any of the mails I had been reading.
I can time out
my outbreaks like this: one week after strep, I look forward to about 3
weeks of a slow continuous breakout, which encompasses my entire body.
After the breakout is finished, then I can treat the lesions. I
usually do this with lotions, some prescribed and some not, and trips to
the tanning booth.
say that’s bad, because tanning beds use UVA instead of the
“recommended” UVB rays. Bulls**t,
is what I say. Don’t get me started on dermatologists, please. Someone
mentioned bedside manner? I don’t think it exists in the dermatology
I call it
aggressive treatment, as I go [to the tanning beds] daily. I have found
that the only true thing that helps me is tanning, whether it be indoor or
outdoor. The real horror is
waiting until the breakout runs
it’s cycle. During this
time, I cry a lot. I can’t help it.
I also want to
say, that when I was a kid and had chicken pox, the lesions went away, and
also when I was pregnant. Neither of these things do I want to go through
again. Nor do I want to try things that cause me to have my liver biopsied
twice a year. I try to stick
to natural remedies. Some
work, some don’t. I have that stupid booklet about Zinc (yes, I spent
the $7.95 for it) and all that does is make me sick to my stomach. [In the
Archives here, read correspondence with “Another ‘Cured It’ Claim”
in the title. –Ed] I stick
to fish oils, Vaseline (for softening and it costs next to nothing), and a
low dose hydrocortisone for my face. It actually keeps me clear there.
And just when
things are going great, like a promotion looming in the near future, and a
brand new relationship with a wonderful man, here it comes again, full
freaking force. I get so frustrated. I’m reading about relationships
here that other “flakers” have had. I’m happy to say that this man
is wonderful, and makes me feel desirable at a time when I’m at my
lowest on the self-esteem scale. My family is also incredibly supportive,
more so because so many others within our clan have suffered as well.
Since I can
trace my P to both of my parents’ families, I was doomed.
Even my sister, who never suffered as a child, had her first real
breakout recently (strep throat).
My 7 year old
has shown signs as well. Keeping it in the family....
Anyway ... You
have mentioned here that humor can find it’s way into anything. My sense
of humor has carried me through a lot of it. A woman once asked me if I
had been got to by mosquitoes. I
told her yes, that an entire swarm of them knocked me over ... yada, yada,
yada ... Trying to smile when your skin is on fire and itchy is a talent,
and I have had 20 years to hone it.
I have tried
the tactics to disarm those who stare and ask retarded questions, and they
do work, mostly. I simply have to go through all the stages before I can
deal properly with this. That is what I am struggling to do now, this very
So, to all
those dealing, coping, laughing, crying, scratching and itching, I feel
your pain! Ed, I thank you for
your time and dedication to this website. I am grateful that I came across
this, especially today, when I was at a really low point and feeling sorry
for myself. Thank you for putting an end to my pity party and reminding me
that I am not alone! Thank you
for letting me vent. Most
Sincerely, -Erin G.
Response: The pleasure has
been all ours, Erin. Getting
emails like yours make me feel like I’m the proprietor of a sort of
American Legion Hall — Flaker’s Legion Hall ... (Flaker’s Lesion Hall?) — because we all have war stories and they’re all
entertaining in that odd sort of way only those-who’ve-been-there
understand. When we listen to
each other we hear ourselves.
haven’t yet, Erin, do read El G.’s Punk
Reactions Down Under. Though
it was written 4 years ago, and I’ve re-read it several times a year for
four years, it tickles me every time, because in that radical expression
resides me — just a different sex, different generation, different part
of the world. I think you’ll
get a kick out of her, too.