Mail (May, 1998)

More on Familial Responsibility
from Roman H.

Happy Easter, all! Haven't visited in awhile—it's good to catch up. Saw a note from Cambridge regarding the issue of the possibility of having children when a parent suffers from psoriasis. It has gnawed on me until I am compelled to write and share my experience.

Cambridge, here's a little family history for you. I am 36; I developed psoriasis as a child in grade school. I have four siblings. Family couldn't recollect anyone related who had been similarly afflicted, but about fifteen years later, my mother became afflicted, also. She was in her late 50's, lucky woman. (Lucky only because she was spared so many years from the itchy mess). My older brother then developed his case of psoriasis—he was in his thirties. In the last few years, one nephew developed it; this is a nephew from another brother. Here's the "feel-good" point, Cambridge: THIS BROTHER HAS NINE (9!!) KIDS! One out of nine ain't bad, my friend. Ok, so one boy out of nine has psoriasis. Let me tell you, that's the least of their problems. Their mother died two years ago from brain cancer. I have a sister who lost a son to leukemia. Which would you rather suffer through? Not to slight your trepidation at the possibility of submitting a child to the chance of having psoriasis, which indeed is uncomfortable, embarrassing, painful, etc. to the sufferer, but think about the big picture. If you have children (which I hope you will—they are the biggest source of pleasure on this great earth), you will have so many things to fret over. Will they be safe? Will they be healthy? Will they be good, solid, contributing citizens? Will they avoid drugs? Will they practice safe sex? Will they not have brain damage/ ADD/ ADHD/ cancer/ heart problems/ diabetes/etc. etc. etc. You get my point. Psoriasis is not, to my knowledge, fatal. It does bring with it a bag of annoyances, but is anyone's life truly stress-free? I worry about a lot of things—I've gained weight, I'm out of shape, I cuss too much, I tend to worry too much, etc., BUT I am a good person, I love to laugh and make others laugh. I do for others, I am a good mother and wife, etc. etc. For every downer, there's two or more uppers ... Life is a journey to be enjoyed along the way—the problems that we work through make us stronger and appreciate ourselves and our loved ones and humanity at large all the more. We are all in this life together; we can derive strength and hope and humor from others. No one is alone unless they choose to be. Please, Cambridge, no one person is perfect. Your child might be as close to perfection as you could dream of ... then again, your child might be susceptible to colds or temper tantrums or have dyslexia or whatever. But you will love him/her more than life itself. Parenthood enriches your life.

Last point: my mother has five children—two have psoriasis—and she has seventeen grandchildren—one has psoriasis. It's worth the gamble. God bless you, your wife, your future children, and may He give your mother peace of mind to accept psoriasis as an annoyance but not a reason to deny having her family tree branch out and bloom.

And to fellow psoriasis sufferers: let's try to get out and enjoy some sunshine when it's available in your area! It helps! Happy Spring! -Roman H., Counselor, Victoria F.O.

*****

Ed's Response: Always good to hear from you, Roman! Your uplifting message put a smile on my face. Do you three psoriatics have to sit at the little table at Christmas?

I'd like to add this to your summary observation ("Parenthood enriches your life"): Grand parenthood ain't bad, either!

Click here to read Cambridge's letter from the Archives.

-Ed

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