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A Forgotten Option
from Ria

Greetings Ed, and Flakers all! I've been reading the latest mail and have decided that we Flakers are amazing people! We bear up under the scrutiny of others even when we have no idea what is happening to our skin. We itch, we try not to scratch. We try incredibly powerful drugs that have horrible side effects, and provide terrible rebound effects when we stop those drugs. We watch our nails turn into something out of a bad fairy tale, and still we think maybe there is some drug, some treatment, some thing, that will make us look like we did prior to the psoriasis taking control of our skin. So strange. And then, damn it, we do scratch. Damn it. Still, through it all, we keep going. Yes, we are Amazing People!

Ed, your briefing for March-April was shrouded in darkness and despair, yet you still try to cheer up the rest of us. I don't have the words to tell you how much the support offered in this website has helped me. From the mail, countless other Flakers have been helped also. I pray you have better health, clearer skin and a lot less pain, soon.

I have stopped going to the derm. First, kudos to all of you that still try to make the P better. As for me, I couldn't make the effort any longer. My mother had been ill for a long time, and within the last 8 months got much worse. As the "helper" child of the family (and the only one local), I was there, doing what I could to ease my mother's pain. I didn't have the time to devote to my own issues. The stress of it all took its toll on my skin, naturally. My mother passed away in March, and it's only recently that my stress has leveled off.

I have a new perspective on my P now. I just don't want to deal with it anymore. I don't want it to control my way of thinking either. My skin is a mess, but it has become crystal clear that this isn't going to get better, and might become worse. I just don't care. I guess I've gotten to a new level of acceptance, or maybe I've gone into deep denial — could be either one. So, it's lotion everyday; occasionally some Elecon for the P spots on my face. I finally found a shade of pink polish that neutralizes the yellow in my nails. I force out a smile for the world.

That, in a long, convoluted way, is why I wanted to say how strong we are. We all have our personal horror stories, but we keep on going. The rest of the world may not understand us. However, we know what we have and will continue to find ways to cope with this scourge, this Psoriasis.

Ed, thanks for letting me get all that off my shoulders. I think you may be the strongest one of us all. Warm regards, -Ria


Ed’s Response: Ria, it’s always good to hear from you. We wear your words here like a license plate (see home page). You always bring something fresh. This time it’s a consideration so obvious few of us give it any thought: that is, the option to do nothing.

I read your email through the first time and felt bad, as though you had given up. But then I read it a couple more times and it occurred to me that you haven’t given up on yourself. For the time being you have elected to give up on the established regimens we undergo to combat P. That is an option!

A small percent of flakers must pursue treatment or settle for debilitation and all of its life-amending effects. An even smaller percentage of us must pursue treatment or risk our lives. The vast majority of us combat our P for less dramatic reasons. We each must decide how important those reasons are, and that is a decision that is always subject to change. (P means something different to the teenager than it does to the grandparent. It means something different to the flaker with hideous hands than it does to the one with moderate lesions on knees and elbows. And it means something different to the actress than it does to the reclusive telecommuter....)

During our careers with P (and they are, in a sense, careers) there are, for most of us, moments when an option to do nothing is entirely feasible. Thank you for reminding us of this.

I’m sure I speak for all of us at FlakeHQ in extending condolences on the passing of your mother. Paraphrasing the words of Henry Drummond, I’m sure she set aside her well worn tools expecting elsewhere better work to do.

With love, -Ed

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