Five Reasons I’m Grateful with Psoriasis
Last updated: April 2023
Gratitude is good for the soul, as the saying goes. But psoriasis is about the hardest thing I’ve gone through in life. How can I be thankful for any part of it? Despite actively treating it, psoriasis has been with me since childhood with very few breaks.
In fact, at various times in my life, it’s been a huge source of complaint and dissatisfaction.
The power of positive thinking.
Shifting to a more positive perspective has been key to better living with psoriasis. It’s easy to focus on the psoriatic spots and lesions that remain resistant to treatment. I am training myself rather to see the skin that is free of psoriasis instead of focusing on the skin that's covered with it.
In the following, I share five ways practicing this new perspective has led me to be thankful for psoriasis. My hope is that they will spur you to think about ways you, too, can see silver linings with it.
Availability of more effective psoriasis treatments
I recently shared in an interview about how far psoriasis treatments have come in the last four decades, especially since I was first diagnosed. Those early treatments included messy, smelly coal tar in Aquaphor and ultraviolet light phototherapy.
In college, I began the first systemic pills that gave me various side effects such as fatigue, stomach upset, concerns about internal organs, and hypertension. With the advent of biologics, my psoriasis became increasingly better controlled with fewer noticeable side effects.
I had to overcome the fear of self-administering syringes and injection pens. Once I became accustomed to injections, my psoriasis improved, and my skincare routines became more manageable so I could pursue furthering my education, career, and hobbies.
Fostering compassion for those facing challenges
I admit that I can be self-focused, especially when it comes to my health and psoriasis. I often obliviously asked my wife to check my psoriasis at times when she herself needed a listening ear.
Many conversations with her and others close to me revolved around my next treatment decision and coping with flares without concern for the person I was talking to. As I came to greater acceptance of psoriasis and learned to better manage my moods with it, I found I had a greater capacity to help others.
I applied the Golden Rule by treating others the way I would want them to treat me with my health concerns. I’m grateful that I became less self-focused and critical of others in the process.
Providing a living example of resilience for my kids
I couldn’t foresee how living with psoriasis could possibly help my three children when they were young. Instead, I dwelled on the potential negative impact it would have with their father being so preoccupied with his health. I never felt like I gave them the attention they deserved.
As they became teenagers and young adults, each of my children faced their own health challenges. They confided in me that observing the good and bad of how I lived with psoriasis helped them cope with their health conditions.
I’m thankful that the next generation could benefit from my experience living with psoriasis, even though it seemed to take precious time away from them.
Opportunity to help others through patient advocacy
At a low point in my career, I felt I needed another way to channel my desire to be creative and help others. I reached out to an online health website that hosted patient blogs.
When they asked me to share why I wanted to blog, I explained how I enjoy writing and wanted to foster a community where those with psoriasis could connect with me and others. Over fifteen years later, I continue to blog about psoriasis and have since expanded my patient advocacy efforts.
Even though I would rather not have psoriasis, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to share my story and experience with various groups over the years.
Revealing the importance of asking for help and support
Before there were GPS mapping units for cars and smartphones with maps, I was the guy who got lost on the road and refused to ask for help. I treated my psoriasis the same way—facing its uncertainties alone.
In my mid-thirties, I faced the worst flare of my life when a dermatologist told me that psoriasis covered 95% of my body. Treatment after treatment failed to calm the flare. In a moment of desperation, I broke down at the clinic and begged the doctor to help me.
The treatment he prescribed began to clear my psoriasis in a matter of weeks. In the meantime, my work gave me a three-week break to rest and recover. Psoriasis showed me the value of leaning on others and being in a community which I’m eternally grateful for.
What is one way that psoriasis has given you something to be thankful for?
Some other ways I’m grateful for psoriasis include how it’s helped me grow my faith, nurture my mental health, and increase my sense of belonging in psoriatic and chronic disease communities.
Is skin management a priority in your psoriasis experience? (Select all that apply)
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