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Get Off the Bus

Psoriasis has been a part of my life ever since I can remember.  I grew up in a small town that didn’t know much about this disease.  My father was told by a doctor to take me to a teaching hospital in Richmond, Virginia years ago. We started out on this journey one early morning with my father and sibling headed to the Greyhound bus station.

I remember the day being very windy.  I had grown to love the cold and windy months. It gave me the opportunity to cover up from head to toe. See I was 80% covered in psoriasis and didn’t want anyone to know. People would shy away from me when they saw me and avoided touching me at all cost.

A bus of judgment

As we got on the bus we could see it was packed to capacity. We all had to split up and sit beside different people on the bus. I sat beside a nice, educated, well dressed middle age lady. My plaque psoriasis was very bad on my face and there was no way to hide it or cover up.

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After I sit down, the first words out of her mouth were, “what is that all over your face?” I was young and didn’t really know what to tell her or what to say, but I tried to explain the best way I could. I told her I had this stuff all over my body. She asked me was I contagious? I told her no. I was trying to explain what psoriasis was, but I didn’t really didn’t know myself. I went on to tell her that I had these blotches on me with scales that fall off that would crack and bleed all over the place.  I told her that I always had blood on my clothes and my skin was hard and crusty.

She looked at me with total disgust and I knew she no longer wanted to sit by me. This lady went to the bus driver and ask to be moved. As she walked past me she made it her business to say, I hope I don’t catch what you got. I had never experienced depression before, but I knew from that day on what it meant to be depressed and sad.

Beginning another journey

We finally make it to the hospital. The doctor came in; got my chart; looked at my hand and said yes, you have psoriasis. That was it and he left the room. We took a three hour ride for a thirty second visit.

I learned some valuable lessons on this day. People are mean. It doesn’t matter if they're young or old, and you really have to do some research to find a good dermatologist. It took me over 30 years to figure this out.

Over the next few years, I have had plenty of thirty second doctor visits. I also learned to recognize a good dermatologist. It’s one that will take the time to talk to you, explain things to you and answer any questions that you have.  This is why it’s so important to educate yourself on this disease. You want the best doctor so that he/she can give you the best treatment possible.

Be your own driver

Write down questions that you want to ask, be informed, so you can ask the right questions, but also understand the answers that are given to you. Knowledge is power.

On the ride back home on that Greyhound bus, I got to sit alone and that was how it was for the next 40 years.

I eventually got stronger and become someone to be reckoned with.  I have been a strong advocate for psoriasis over the years.  You don’t have to sit back and not do anything; speak up and speak out.  I educate others so they can be very informed about this disease and hopefully help someone else along their journey.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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