(June/July, 1999)

Strep-to-Guttate-to-Plaque-to-Arthritis
from Christine H.

I just happened upon your site, Ed. It sure is a relief to be able to read these stories.

I am a 49 year old woman, and I did not develop psoriasis until about 9 years ago. I was working with a colleague who had a terrible cold (probably a pneumonia). All he did was cough and cough. I developed the same coughing. I am pretty sure it was Strep pneumonia. Within a few weeks, I noticed these red dot-like spots on my legs, but since they didn't bother me, and I could conceal them with slacks, I did nothing. This continued for about 90 days and then I broke out all over except for my hands, face and feet. My scalp was flaking so bad, there were scales all over my carpets in my car and in my bed.

The usual creams were prescribed, and I was told to "come back if you need any more cream." No one seemed to know what I had, but it sure did not improve. One terrible July 4th weekend ('91), I suddenly became aware of the pain of arthritis. Without warning, I had developed a migrating arthritis of my hands, toes and knee. I now could not walk, I could bear NO weight at all on my right leg.

No physicians could help me at all, no one could see me for weeks. In desperation, I sought the help of a local podiatrist (I thought I may have somehow broken my toe). HE and only HE diagnosed my condition, based on his knowledge that arthritis and psoriasis are related, and immediately sent me to a rheumatologist that day. At least then I knew what I was up against.

It has been about 6 years since then. I have had every conceivable treatment, including being on clinical trials for Cyclosporine A. Currently I am on the new drug, Soriatane. It is giving me good results. I still flake a bit, I still have many pink spots, but I can live with it.

I enjoy reading your stories. I have come to accept myself and my psoriasis. I know I am doing the best I can to keep things under control. But as you already know, just taking care of it can be exhausting, tiresome and time consuming [and expensive -Ed]. It can be very devastating emotionally, too.

I have bookmarked FlakeHQ and look forward to checking in monthly, now. Continued success with this endeavor, a lot of people need support, education and most of all, encouragement.
Thanks. -Christine H.

*****

Ed's Response: Yours reads like a textbook case of guttate P initiated by Strep infection, evolving into plaque P and then P arthritis, Christine. I also noted that you and I manifested psoriasis at about the same time in life ~ 40.

It sounds like you've been aggressive and thorough in taking charge of your P ... and that you've met up with the usual medical hassles and hurdles on the way to finding a truly proactive regimen.

Flakers like you and me predictably follow similar courses. This is true because the severity of our P narrows our options. While it is commonly said there are probably 6 to 8 million flakers in the U.S. alone, we don't often see statistics on how many of these are mild, moderate or severe. As you proceed up the severity scale, treatment options diminish in inverse proportion. Flakers at large are enjoying a boon in topical options: more steroids, more vitamin-A derivative drugs than ever before. But for many this is a small comfort. These are the flakers whose derms insist systemics are the only likely relief. Many of us have over-used the topicals for years, either ruining our skin for good or simply becoming immune to our medicines.

BUT, we have each other, Christine. Meet us here, any time. Best regards. -Ed

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