Manuel Domingos has been living with psoriasis for more than 15 years. As a neuropsychologist and aware of the impact of psoriasis on mental health, for the first time ever he decided to share in first hand with PsoHappy the letter he wrote to “his” psoriasis.
After 15 years of turbulent coexistence, I decided to write a few lines about our odyssey. I will tell the tale of how you dare to settle in me, remaining unwanted and vile during all this time.
It was back in the year of 2003 and almost summer, when I noticed small, red dots forming all over my skin. Concerned that it could be something related to a hematological disease, I decided to immediately see a doctor. Fortunately, the results of the blood tests did not reveal anything abnormal, but I thought it was best to have a second opinion with an allergist and a dermatologist to be on the safe side. The former looked at the rash on my skin and told me, he had to perform several tests. The results were still inconclusive.
When I went to the dermatologist, his attitude was cold and impersonal when he told me to prepare myself because I had a chronic condition. It was psoriasis – an autoimmune disease with no cure but treatments are available to alleviate the symptoms. I was told it’s not contagious, and that I wouldn’t suffer any other consequences. He went on to prescribe me the traditional ointments, and as I was walking through the door, he said: “Go to the beach and get some sun but not too much.”
From that moment, I was aware that my life would be greatly affected socially, and that my relation to others would change.
When I first started to read about the disease, I felt the panic spreading throughout my mind and body. In addition to the skin issues, the damn disease could also affect my joints, cause psoriatic arthritis, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and even, according to certain sources, cause neoplasia.
For years I tried different dermatologists, hoping to find a new solution. Some recommended phototherapy, which I tried for a month. I still couldn’t see any improvement, so I just stuck with the traditional ointments and lotions.
One day in the beginning of my summer holiday, I decided to get away alone from everything. I went to a remote village with a beach, only populated by some seagulls and crabs, half a dozen people, and me.
I don’t know if it was the fact that I chose for the first time not to worry more about my psoriasis, but after just a few days, my psoriasis completely vanished into the warm summer air. I thought there was something magical about that place. For three months, my psoriasis was away on its own vacation, but once I got back home to my routine, my psoriasis also returned and was determined to stay. My self-esteem plummeted, I stopped wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Soon, it became a chronic shame that still persists. The only good thing in this tragic odyssey was the fact that I had never had muscular, arthropathic, rheumatic, cardiac, or neoplastic complications.
A few days ago, I went to another dermatologist who, for the first time, had a praiseworthy attitude since she looked at me as a person and not the host of a disease. She ended up comforting me by letting me know that my psoriasis was relatively mild.
But for now, my “dear” psoriasis will remain my eternal companion, unless the researchers find some way to send you to hell.
And, that’s it.
A big hug from Manuel Domingos
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