Circa 1970, a commercial for a medicinal skin care product made a reference to “the heartbreak of Psoriasis.”
I was roughly ten years old then, and found it so ludicrous I had to laugh. I didn’t want to ridicule anyone’s suffering, but that heartbreak stuff was just too much. You were heartbroken when something happened in your personal life, not your health. The man who did the voiceover in the commercial sounded so sincere, too.
Two months ago, I was diagnosed with Psoriasis at the age of fifty-seven. Shit.
I don’t find this heartbreaking. It’s annoying, unsettling and relatively disgusting. A rash on the back of my scalp caused me to delay having my hair cut because I didn’t want to scare the stuffing out of the barber. The prescription cream used on that rash caused hair to fall out and clog the bathtub and bathroom sink drains (a thumbs-up and shout-out to the inventor of the so-called Turbo Snake, which helped avert a call to the plumber).
I know I don’t have it as bad as some people, but the condition is proving to be a persistent little fucker. Just when I think the last rash is healed, another erupts — almost like a volcano, but so far without the lava.
Now, I’m pondering seeing a rheumatologist to find out if the bad knee and hip days I keep having are due to Psoriatic Arthritis, an immune system hiccup related to Psoriasis.
Unusual types of Arthritis run in my family. One relative had it the worst and died of Lupus, a condition which causes many symptoms, including painful joints.
My mother was about the age I am now when she developed Polymyalgia Rheumatica. Her condition was treated with Prednisone, a steroid which causes its own problems. However, if you’re ill enough to need Prednisone, you’d better be grateful to have it.
I’ll try to remain calm, avoid getting too serious about this and wait to see what happens next. In the meantime, there’s an incorrect impression many Americans got circa 1970 which I must clarify. I won’t pretend to speak for others, but, uh, I’m speaking for others: