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My chronic life began a couple of years before my first diagnosis. I knew something was off but never said anything to my doctors. At that time, I felt like telling anyone that I was experiencing random episodes of tiredness and achiness would make me sound silly or like a hypochondriac.
It was finally having something visible to show that prompted me to make an appointment. But was it visible enough?
Here is my story.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional. Always consult with your doctor if you suspect a diagnosis or are experiencing any health issues. This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee-drinking habit if you make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone.
A Little Background Story
One of the reasons I had hesitated to talk to my doctor about what was going was what people would think. I grew up with several chronically ill family members. Unfortunately, friends and family didn’t show them compassion. Instead, they treated them like they were burdens and too much trouble to deal with.
Throughout high school and my twenties, my weight fluctuated a lot. Except for the time I was pregnant, I was always 10 to 40 pounds overweight. As you may have already guessed, I was always told to exercise and lose weight whenever I saw a doctor for reoccurring knee pain that had been going on since my freshman year of high school. The sad part is that not one surgeon diagnosed or addressed the real problem (loose cartilage and bone that would lodge in the joint) until I was 32 years old.
Finally, A Visible Symptom
After approximately two years of reoccurring fatigue and joint pain episodes, I finally had something visible to show my doctor. It wasn’t big, but it was painful!
Not big is an understatement. The rash was maybe the size of a pea. But it burned and itched like nothing I had ever felt before.
Instead of being taken seriously, my doctor laughed. He didn’t take it seriously and treated me as if I was wasting his time. I was sent home with instructions to treat it with an over-the-counter dry scalp shampoo. So that is what I did.
An Undeniable Psoriasis Symptom
Two days later, my pea-sized rash had spread and covered my body head to toe!
Even though I had very little skin that was not covered, past experiences continued to fill my head with doubt. However, instead of laughing, this time, my doctor stood there with his mouth wide open!
Before saying anything, he ran out of the exam room to retrieve a medical book. When he returned, he opened it and declared he knew what I had. And the diagnosis was psoriasis.
He wrote a prescription for a medicated cream, and that was that.
The Importance Of Researching Psoriasis Symptoms
The first clue that I was not seeing the right doctor should have been when he laughed at me. The second clue should have been after he showed me his medical book and proceeded to bring in every doctor, nurse, and aide in his practice to see what a textbook case of psoriasis looked like.
Chronic illness pro tip!If your doctor and everyone in his practice doesn’t have any knowledge about your diagnosis, it is time to find a new one!
I received my diagnosis of psoriasis in 2001. While there was information to be found on the internet, online research wasn’t something I was used to doing at that time. Had I done some research, I would have realized the importance of finding a dermatologist. More importantly, I would have connected the dots between psoriasis and the episodes of joint pain and fatigue that continued to occur.
Related Post: Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Connection
My Psoriasis Life
I am incredibly fortunate that my initial head-to-toe rash was eliminated with the use of prescription creams. Breakouts beyond have never reached that severity, nor did they occur often. Instead, my rashes were limited to my back and occasionally on my arms. The ones on my back were typically along each side of my spine.
In the 20 years since my psoriasis diagnosis, I have had breakouts in various forms. I get plaque psoriasis on my back, legs, and arms. Inverse psoriasis began presenting itself a few years later. And my first experience with scalp psoriasis occurred during the second time my body was under distress from endometriosis strangling my bowels.
My treatments began with prescription creams. Between 2010 and 2013, I started shifting how I treated my chronic pain and symptoms with natural and alternative options.
How I Treat My Psoriasis Symptoms
There isn’t a cure, but there are many ways to treat your symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which options are best for you.
The products I currently use to address my psoriasis symptoms include:
- Dead Sea Soap
- Soothing Skin Balm
- Infared Therapy
- No More Yeast Balm – While not a psoriasis product, it works great at taking the sting out of my inverse psoriasis.
How I treat my psoriasis symptoms may not be how you choose to treat yours, and that is okay. Unlike the majority of people with psoriasis, the rash is my least problematic symptom. That is why I rarely blog about it; I did not feel like I had much in common with the psoriasis community. I know that is not true and that everyone’s story is important. Who knew that after 20 years, I would be ready to embrace my place in the psoriasis community.
It is a shame that a patient has to reach the point I did to be taken seriously. It’s even worse when a doctor won’t admit that they are not educated in an illness enough to treat their patient. I have often wondered how much sooner I would have been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis had I gone to a dermatologist first.
Was receiving your psoriasis diagnosis an easy or difficult experience?