It has been a tough journey living with you for the last 20 years. Twenty years. Now that’s a long time. I don’t know many people who have had a relationship last that long. But there is something special about ours. I would not be who I am if you did not show up when you did. Which, by the way, was just when I was trying to figure out life: in high school. It didn’t bother me at first because you were only on my elbows. Then, within three weeks of our first encounter, you covered 90 percent of my skin.
I guess you really liked me.
Needless to say, having one more confusing thing in my life to figure out wasn’t easy.
It was hard.
It was very hard.
There were tears. Lots of them.
There was itching and scratching. There was blood. There were flakes. So many flakes.
There was medication. So much medication.
But then something happened. I realized you joined me on this journey so I could help others. To help others realize that it is possible to live a happy and healthy life while living with a chronic disease like psoriasis.
Living with something for twenty years teaches you many things. You taught me that I am so resilient. If one medication doesn’t work, then there are many other options to try. Don’t get discouraged.
You taught me that I have to be willing to be open and honest with my dermatologist. And to also find a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis. Because let me tell you, cosmetic, general, and specialized dermatology are not the same.
You taught me that there will always be people who stare. But ,you have to use that opportunity to teach them what psoriasis is and how it looks different for and on everyone.
You taught me that it’s OK to have bad days. But tomorrow is always a new one — and, a new opportunity to live.
You taught to take care of my mental health. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right.
Most of all, you taught me to love myself in spite of my psoriasis. Because of you, I am empowered to provide valuable, reliable, and accurate information about living with psoriasis. Because of you, I want to inspire others living with chronic diseases that it is possible to live a happy, healthy, and stylish life while living with psoriasis. Because of you, I am a published author. Because of you I have had the opportunity to go to Capitol Hill, along with other psoriasis advocates, to meet with members of Congress to advocate for greater federal attention to psoriatic disease research programs and health care access legislation. Because of you, I have a second family of psoriasis advocates and bloggers to go through this psoriasis life with.
Today, I thank you. Because without you, I’m not exactly sure who I would be.