We are thrilled to announce our new psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis social ambassadors, Alisha Bridges - founder of Being Me in My Own Skin and winner of the National Psoriasis Foundation’s Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award, and** Julie Cerrone**, founder of _It’s Just a Bad Day _and WEGO Health Activist Award Winner.In addition to writing regularly for HealthCentral, these leaders in the psoriasis community** will be managing the new **Psoriasis HealthCentral Facebook Page. Here they'll share resources, personal experiences and support others living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Get to know them better by reading their letters to you below, and be sure to “Like” our new Facebook page to stay in touch and up-to-date throughout the year.
After a bad case of chicken pox at the age of 7, flaky, itchy, patches began to invade my skin. A visit to the doctor determined I had psoriasis - an autoimmune disease affecting millions. After my diagnosis, I remained silent about my disease for 20 years. Unfortunately, being almost 90 percent covered made it hard to truly hide. Therefore, I lied about my condition or avoided situations that would cause me to reveal it. As you can imagine, I have encountered some very uncomfortable situations, from dating to living with a college roommate.** I’ve been through it ALL with this disease**. I lived in shame, not sure how the world around me would react to such a visible condition.
A few years ago I grew tired of living in fear, so I decided to take my life back. I became involved with organizations that supported psoriasis patients such as the National Psoriasis Foundation. There I found the confidence, courage, and strength to speak out about what it’s like having this disease. In sharing my story and the journeys of others,** I hope to create empathy and compassion in the world around us**. I also hope I give you the courage to really live despite your disease.
I get it. I totally get being in so much pain you can't move. I totally get having a medicine list that's so ridiculously long, it makes your grandma's look like a joke. I totally get not living the life you thought you would lead.
Through years and years of health struggles (joint problems, migraine problems, digestive problems, skin problems), countless doctors appointments, hours logged in PT, years spent on crutches, and 5 knee surgeries, I was “officially” diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis - among other things - at the age of 27.
For a long time, I let my diagnosis rule my life . I allowed it to let me think less of myself, my life, my worth. But one day, after a long period of working to shift my perception, it totally clicked. Just because I have this diagnosis, doesn't mean I still can't live my best life. Since that day, I've made it my mission to help chronically fabulous patients realize they can still live their best life possible.
I started a blog (Itsjustabadday.com), which snowballed into writing opportunities, speaking engagements, advocacy platforms and a new holistic health coaching career path. Just like Robin Roberts has said, I've decided to make my mess my message.
I'm excited to work with HealthCentral, to interact with psoriatic arthritis patients all over, and help grow a community of patients who are in the same boat. You're not alone, so let's connect and help form an amazing community!!