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Salsa (the dance) as Therapy
from Johnny-from-Portugal

Hi Ed, How lovely to be writing to you again! I have a few things to address.

First, I’m still in Koebnerland.  My hypertrophic lesion on the back of my hand gets worse and worse.  I would give Melaleuca a try, does it work only on feet? What about hands and body? It is expensive for me to order because I live in Portugal, so I would like to know whether someone has tried any products before I start ordering. The link you inserted doesn't work.

Being a vet student (T-shirt: "I flake on more than one species") and a fan of tea tree oil, I looked into it and found out that it might be toxic in some cases, having led to a few deaths, human and especially cats. So, if any of you use tea tree oil on your skin or recommend it to someone, you might want to tell them to dilute it and never, ever to ingest it (and to watch it with cats, funny metabolism). Natural doesn't mean harmless.

Second, has anyone tried fish oils directly on the skin? Does it work?

Third, I tried Solafalk, pills — nothing there — and a thing called Regender, no side effects. The doctor wanted me to do Regender and another one together, said second one having horrible side effects, like fetus mutation, excess pilosity and, curiously, alopecia [hair loss]. So, I wouldn't be able to get pregnant for 3 years — not that I want to now, but if it does that to the fetus what does it do to me? — and I might end up bald or bearded, or both? I guess then I wouldn't have to worry about getting pregnant! So I politely declined and I don't know if it [Regender] worked because I kept forgetting to take the pills (before food).

I tried a cream at the same time that actually worked, Dermovate NN — forget name and can't find it now.  I was beginning to see the skin on my hand and normal lesions cleared but then it stopped working so everything is back but I really cannot be bothered so we pacifically coexist.

And I am still smoking and drinking loads of coke so if my psoriasis is offended in any way, well, the door is always open and, as Emily Dickinson wrote, "parting is all we know of heaven."

Point is, I am a liberated psoriatic and no longer a slave. My arms and hands are for all to see and see they immediately do. I have started Salsa lessons and told every one of my partners what it was and that it wasn't contagious.  I feel diseased and promiscuous, LOL! because they were literally holding it and every one of them looked at me as though I were crazy for even thinking they'd think that. One of the guys actually pulled me closer to him, some sweet subliminal way of saying it doesn't bother me. It felt wonderful. All this protection and immediate announcements get bothersome after a while. My hand hurt from all that holding and pulling and I'll have to find a way to wear some protection because that plus all that aftershave something or other cannot be good for the skin.  Do you American men also bathe in the stuff? I stank even after I washed my hands twice. But I recommend Salsa as therapy, I really do. It gets you moving — burning toxins — and it is just, well, good clean fun. I laughed a lot and it felt wonderful.

Fourthly, experts now believe that the Torah mentions psoriasis; i.e., what was often described as leprosy was actually psoriasis.

I expect I am lucky, for had I lived then I would have been banned forever (Tsaraat, it is called, unclean as they come). So it has been around for centuries. I read somewhere that even Paul flaked. Thus one learns one is biblically correct. And they say being Jewish isn't fun!

Fifthly:  There is actually a kind of reverse Koebner.  I found the reference once, it is a name with lots of AA in it, Amarin, Amazin, something like that. The phenomenon is basically that if you keep peeling the lesion it will eventually clear. I have noticed that on my scalp there are a few spots that have cleared because I found them, picked at them, they bled a bit, dried, were picked at again and so on till it cleared. Can't say anymore on the subject so will hit the bed with my animal innards book. Are you drrrrooling yet? A fate to envy.

Oh, tried Bonalfa too, and that didn't work either. –Johnny-from-Portugal


Ed’s Response:  Good to hear from you again, too, Johnny. 

Re First point:  Frankly, I’ve been having trouble myself with the Melaleuca web site.  I’m sorry about the link imbedded in Clara’s email.  That LONG link took me to a dynamic page about the product Sole to Soul (foot treatment).  It doesn’t appear to work as a link but must be got to the hard way, drilling down once you’re in the site.  Go to www.melaleuca.com and try to find “Sole to Soul.”  Good luck.  So far, this is the only Melaleuca product Clara's tried that seems to directly benefit her P.  But we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available.

Re Point 2:  Fish oil as a topical?  New to me.  If anyone else has experience using fish oil directly on lesions, please let us know.

About Point 3:  Your continuing litany of remedy trials is ... typical?  I’m afraid so.  But let’s not leave Emily’s line so starkly out of context:

My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me.

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befel. 
Parting is all we know of heaven
And all we need of hell.

Second thought, in your context, the single line — Parting is all we know of heaven — works much better by itself.

And, dear Johnny, if you can survive Salsa lessons while flaming, nothing else life throws at you is likely to be too tough for you to handle.  Your word-picture of the experience had me giggling.  And, of course, can there be but one answer to your question, “Do you American men also bathe in the stuff [aftershave]?” Absolutely not! (If we did, we do no longer.  I have just this moment cleaned out that particular shelf of my toilet cabinet...)

Re Fourth point:  Psoriasis in Bible times.  Leviticus (the book of Laws) provides most of the clues.  Here are a few paragraphs from an earlier essay of mine:

The Bible's treatment of leprosy ... is not so easy to dismiss.  It should be easy to dismiss because leprosy, also called Hansen's disease and bacillus mycobacterium leprae in Latin, is a very specific disease with a very definable agent.  If leprosy were really leprosy in the Bible it wouldn't need to be discussed here at all.  But such is not the case.  The word has found itself obscured through the years.  Often the word "leprosy" in the Bible does not mean Hansen's disease, but some other skin condition or conditions. Hebrews and Leviticus are the books that most confuse the issue.  These other kinds of "leprosy" weren't necessarily terminal and, in Old Testament Israel, priests were in charge of the diagnosing. 

To have the disease (or diseases) called "leprosy" meant you weren't necessarily ill, you were ritually unclean.  Your skin was two-toned and you were made to live separate from the community.  There weren't any cures, but the priests kept their eyes on you and decided if you became cured and could be readmitted into the community.  Often people did get better—which is the single greatest indication that Biblical leprosy is not always actual leprosy.  However, when a "leper" got better and was allowed to go home, the priests instructed him or her in the proper guilt and sin offerings to atone for his or her impurity. 

Frankly, folks, this is a substantially more hideous legacy for flaking than Job's victimization by gaming deities.  Everywhere we psoriatics turn the remnants of "uncleanliness" are affixed to our psoriasis like dust bunnies under davenports.  This isn't necessarily a conscious association.  If you asked someone today why psoriasis and psoriatics repulse them, they probably would not use the word "unclean."  But culture perpetuates behaviors without necessarily perpetuating the logic behind them. 

These days when someone asks me what is wrong with me and I say "psoriasis," if they respond "What is that?" or "I've never heard of that," I am compelled to ask, "Have you heard of unclean?"

And on the Fifth point:  I’m almost certain, too, that what we call “reverse Koebner” is an acknowledged phenomenon with a name of its own.  In fact, I thought I read something fairly recently about it in an NPF publication.  I can’t find it at the moment.  It might have come up in an on-line chat.  If anyone knows what this is called, please drop me an email.  Thanks!

Don’t take so long to write again, Johnny.  And by the way, KoKo is just fine <wink>. -Ed

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