The Most Unflattering Psoriasis Diagnosis Story Ever, You’re Welcome
I swear I wasn’t a hormonal teen girl with growing pains and a tummy ache
There were also invisible symptoms like searing and stabbing pains in the intestines and frequent trips to the bathroom. At times, I would have such severe joint pain come from out of thin air that it felt like my knee disconnected and gave out. It felt like a knife stabbing inside. In turn, the pediatrician sent me off to a pediatric GI and an ortho.
All of my health issues were blown off by assorted pediatric specialists. The skin thing was brushed off as dry skin and cradle cap. Who gets that past infancy and possibly toddlerhood? If toddlerhood isn’t a word, it should be. Some are meaner than adults.
Anyway, the GI symptoms were brushed off as severe IBS-D, and as I like to call it hysterical teenage girl syndrome. Both of which my primary doctor treated with anti-spasmodic meds, steroids, and mood-altering muscle relaxers. Because what 15-year-old wouldn’t want to coast through their teen years existing on “mommy’s little helpers,” right?
Oh and that joint pain, that would take my knees out from under? They said it was growing pains. I never made it past and barely at that, 5-feet-tall, Y’all! They prescribed physical therapy.
Realizations of growing up sick
By the time I reached college age, I stopped trying to find someone to fix my health. I floated along and just existed. The fear of financial repercussions my parents faced having to pay for our health plan, co-pays, portions of college tuition and books were all motivating factors.
This fear drove me to get a job with decent benefits, as soon as possible, after graduating from college. I feared what loomed on the horizon without the safety net of health insurance. It also probably drove me to take higher stress jobs and stay at them longer, because of benefits.
One step forward, three million steps nowhere
Not long after graduation, I needed to find a GI. My symptoms — skin and GI — were pretty awful. Shortly thereafter, I received a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Once again, I was failed by a doctor.
The GI was older and wasn’t an IBD specialist. He failed to provide a proper treatment plan. Not only did he ignore the skin issues, but I learned later he missed that I had thyroid disease. I learned this while the new doctors were reviewing the work of the old ones. The labs were crystal clear. He ignored them.
This doctor ignored many things. He sent me off with medications that provided the medical equivalent to a bandage for Crohn’s disease. They did not treat the immune system’s inflammatory process. This all took place in 2005. I went another seven years before things got really bad.
This current flare started in 2012. Back then, I was blissfully unaware that I had psoriasis. Nor did I understand the complexities of inflammatory diseases mediated by the immune system. What I did know is that it was hard for me to sit at times, and not because of Crohn’s disease. This next part should really come as no surprise.
The most unflattering psoriasis diagnosis story
As my health deteriorated, the diagnoses piled on: active Crohn’s, tachycardia, heart murmur, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and lastly psoriasis. That P-though…
Amidst the specialist appointments, I was due for my annual well-woman appointment and prescription refill. So, I went in as scheduled. I warned my doctor I was having a weird skin irritation down below.
As she had me make that infamous skootch down toward the end of the table, she asked about the skin issue I reported on the forms. “It’s probably Crohn’s-related. Everything else is these days,” I sarcastically muttered.
Just like a skilled mechanic would do, she went rooting around under the hood doing her thing. She was down there for less than a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity. She popped her head to the side to make eye contact. NOT AWKWARD! [So awkward.]
While poking at the areas with inverse psoriasis, she said, “You’ve got a touch of psoriasis in the front.”
Then she popped back down and I heard a slightly muffled, “Yep, and the back. You’ve got a lot in the back, too.”
Both of these systemic diseases are insidious on their own. This is what felt most ridiculous. Crohn’s and psoriasis had to create a perfect storm and land on my lady business, just to get discovered.
At least I finally had an answer!
Finding the purpose
Since that time, I have developed debilitating arthritis related to the Crohn’s and psoriasis. It forced me out of my job in marketing and to file for disability at the ripe-old-age of 31. After this diagnosis, it further reinforced to me that I needed to start biologics immediately. That’s a story for another day, though.
It’s been a battle back to some semblance of health. Biologic treatments have been my saving grace. These drugs have helped immensely with the additional disease manifestations that Crohn’s and Psoriasis have brought into my life.
This is why I advocate for others. Knowing I can help prevent someone or many someones from living through the same medical mistakes I did, has given me renewed purpose.
Do you have an awkward diagnosis story? Did doctors ignore your psoriasis symptoms? Let’s chat!