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Stress at 11?
from Erin G.

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 well.

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.

Dermatologists 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 community.

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 minute.

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.

*****

Ed’s 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.

If you 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. 

Meanwhile, write more.  This party’s on 24/7/52.  <wink> -Ed

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