(May, 1999)

Some Coping Tips
from Simon W.

I've had the dreaded P for about six years now. At first, I had NO idea what it was, I just thought I'd hurt my head or something (it first appeared on my scalp and, bizarrely enough, my right thumbnail). The flakes I shed made the household dust mites think it was Christmas and Easter and all major festivals rolled into one. Consequent to the proliferation of dust mites I developed asthma. Nice, huh? It took about a year to diagnose my P, by which time it had migrated to various sites all over my body. At about the same time they were finally figuring out what ailed me, I bought a car with a black interior. BIG mistake. After a few months it turned into a car with an interestingly textured white interior.

I've found, over the years, a few ways to cope with leaving bits of me all over the place.

In the first place, it's essential to have a sense of humor. If you can laugh at yourself, you've won half the battle, especially when ignorant idiots start trying to have a go at you. (One of my work colleagues threw her teacup out because she thought I'd been drinking from it.)

Secondly—well you probably know about all of this—use your treatments religiously and I don't mean only on a Sunday. I use Dovonex, when I remember, and it's the best thing I've found plus it only costs me 5.80 (about $10?) on the National Health Service. But sometimes I can't be bothered, or I've just worked myself into a standstill, and the last thing on my mind is getting the tube of cream out and coating myself.

Thirdly—well , I don't suppose there is a thirdly, really, apart from never buy a car with a black interior unless you like using a vacuum cleaner a lot ... and remember that your real friends shouldn't give a stuff about what your skin looks like because you're still the same person inside and, ultimately, that's all that matters.

Well , I hope I haven't bored anyone with my ramblings (My first E-Mail) and it's nice to know that there are more of us flakes out there. Thanks for reading. -Simon W.

*****

Ed's Response: Glad you found us, Simon. I couldn't agree more with your recommendations. One addition: Maroon car interiors are to be avoided, too.

If your conversion is correct, you pay what I pay for prescripts through my health insurance plan. Such plans make living with P a whole lot easier and I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for people who are NOT covered. If I had to pay full freight for my P medicines, it would cost between $3,000 and $4,000 per year. It's no wonder so many of us continue to try the non-prescription (OTC) remedies.

Stay in touch. -Ed

P.S. - Simon would not mind receiving e-mail from other Flake HQ readers. If you would like his e-mail address, e-mail me and I'll forward it to you.

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