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Flake: Confessions Triggers Old Memories
from Mike B.

Hi Ed:  Just finished reading Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic and loved it.  I could probably write umpteen pages about the memories it triggered, but I'll resist the temptation — bits and pieces have already gone to your site, and to PsorChat, and I'm sure there'll be others.

With regard to your hopes to update, one area in particular seems pretty obvious — the "A variable" in Chapter 8, the (at the time you  wrote it) mysterious common factor to all cases.  I think it's now generally agreed that it's that T-cell reaction, which the newer biologics are trying to target.

A few of those "bits and pieces" here, though, since I'm sure they'll slip back into dead memory if I don't.

I reached the age for my pre-induction physical right about when the Viet Nam mess was at its hottest (early or early-mid '60's sounds about right, since I was born in late '45).  At the point where we were bent over for rump-inspection, with our hands on our hips, one of the docs pulled me out of line, having noticed the P. on my elbow, and I wound up with a 1-Y physical deferment for that — guess they were concerned it might turn into "jungle rot" or whatever overseas.  For ages afterwards, I'd kid with friends that it was a classic case of them not knowing my a— from my elbow.

As I think I've posted several times, I can usually live with my P and treat it as, 99% of the time, worse to look at than to have.  So I don't go looking for medical treatment except on the rare occasions (twice now, about 12 years apart) where for unknown reasons it flared into erythrodermic and needed emergency hospital admission. 

Most derms (mine, anyway) now seem to agree that no one knows what triggers such severe flareups, and that they're unpredictable and — by inference — unpreventable.  Sure, I stick to long sleeves and jeans except at home, like so many others.  And Vaseline is my major "treatment," plus I've got some topical corticosteroid ("Celestoderm" ointment) which no longer retards new growth but is marvelous for itch-discomfort.

And I'm just now going through that thumbnail thing — one lengthwise ridge that splits at the outer end on the right thumb.  A royal pain, since for me the thumbnail is a tool, for heaven's sake, and that one has to be treated with care so it doesn't catch on something and rip open.  Saw a new derm yesterday, and he agrees it's part of the P and is hopeful that UV will help.

There I go again, rambled on much longer than I intended, sorry about that.  But you can definitely add me to the book's fans.  Thanks again, and best always, -Mike B.

*****

Ed’s Response:  To other readers, first:  Mike B. has been a long-time correspondent to FlakeHQ, is a co-administrator of PsorChat, and is a self-proclaimed nutty Canadian.  He’s also a cheapskate.  Over the past nearly ten years he never purchased a copy of my book, Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic.  Since Mike’s opinions, like his stories (above), are always sound and entertaining, I sought him out about the prospects of serializing an updated Flake at this web site in 2006.  Of course, he reminded me he had not gotten around to buying the book (which is now no longer sold) so I had to send him one.  The email above is his response.

To Mike:  You make up for your deep pockets and short arms with your verbal kindness, wisdom, and stories.  Most appreciated.  And, by the way, I’ve decided you can keep the book.  -Ed

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