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From right to left a woman aging from child to adult to senior with psoriasis plaques on their skin

Then And Now – 60 Years Later

I have looked back over the last 60 years of my life living with psoriasis. There are times I still don’t know how I have made it this far. If I could go back in time, are there any changes I would make? Let's talk.

Could I get a job where I could cover up?

The one thing I’m glad I did back in the day was secure a job that would help me later on in my life. My family’s background was cleaning houses, farming, cooking for other people, and working in restaurants. When I went to apply for any of these jobs, people stuck their noses up at me once they saw my psoriasis skin.

Where could I get a job where I could cover up? One day I walked into an office building and everybody had on “power suits” and wore pantyhose. A light bulb went off immediately. You need an office job somewhere, I thought. I lucked out and got into the federal government. Some days I had to wear 4 pairs of pantyhose and body suits so flakes wouldn't be everywhere. But that’s another story.

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The only thing I regret in life is not telling my story, was so ashamed of my skin that I hid it all of the time. If you have psoriasis, then you know you leave flakes everywhere. I remember hearing some of my peers saying, well Diane’s been here, she left her DNA behind. Going to the bathroom was not pretty. Flakes would be everywhere. So many times, people have caught me on my hands and knees cleaning up flakes. I wasn’t fooling anybody but myself. There were times I should have educated people, but all I did was hide. People wouldn’t touch me because of my skin. This should have been the time to tell them that psoriasis is not contagious, but I didn’t.

Let your voice be heard

Sixty years ago, we only had one commercial for psoriasis, now there are more than I can count. Treatment options are endless now, this is good news. The clearest I had ever got was when I started on biologics. I think this is progressing in the right direction, so we have evolved.

I have learned so much over the years and one thing is to let your voice be heard. I felt alone my whole life. Find someone you can talk to, join a support group, or talk to friends and family. Who would have ever thought that psoriatic arthritis would be peaking its ugly head around the corner?

Also, know what your triggers are, but more importantly think about your mental health. If I could count the amount of time I have cried, I would be a millionaire. I would be the first one to say that I didn’t need therapy, that’s for crazy people. Well, I have been sitting in that chair for years now.

Love yourself

When I looked back over my life, 100% of the things I did and the decisions I made were because of my psoriasis. My therapist made me look at why I did some things or the path I chose to take in life. I was trying to fix my skin by doing destructive things.

We are all looking for love, well I was. There is someone out there for you, I always thought I would be alone. Met my first husband in 1976. He died of a brain tumor a few years later. So, I joined the dating world a few years after that. It was a nightmare. I was ready to give up on love when I met my second husband. I was over 80% covered when we met. We have been together for 26 years now.

The one thing I want to leave with you is to love yourself. That came very later in life for me. I stopped saying I was ugly and worthless and started accepting who I truly was. A very beautiful person inside and out. Having psoriasis doesn’t define who we are. You will learn that.

We are all in this together.

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