The Day I Was Told "It Might Not Be Psoriasis"
I've had psoriasis since I was 7 years old, although not terribly long ago, treatment options for psoriasis were still being tested and as an adolescent, I couldn't use them anyway. I've seen countless doctors for my disease, some who were very helpful, some who were not.
A few years ago I decided to try a new doctor. She was a young, black dermatologist in the Atlanta area. I figured she would be able to relate to me than other doctors had done before. I thought maybe she could finally provide a medicine for me that would work and be better versed in dealing with skin of color.
My doctor date
You know that feeling you get when you are on the way to a first date with someone you are really excited about? You're nervous, but SO excited about the possibilities. That's EXACTLY how I felt when I walked into her office. Things started off normal, I signed myself in, answered patient questions, and patiently waited for my name to be called. I thought to myself, "this is it, I've found the doctor "love" of my life, The one who is going to change everything about my disease."
Once in the patient room, I was never asked to get fully undressed, which is always a red flag to me. The doctor walked in, reviewed the brown, crusty, inflamed patches of my skin with a perplexed look on her face said "I don't think you have psoriasis. I think you might have Lichen Planus"
Everything in that moment stopped. All I could think of was what would I tell my friends and family? Why did this disease sound like a family of plants? Another disease I can't pronounce or spell, I just became used to the word psoriasis and the silent "p" rule. Would I be considered the Rachel Dolezal of the psoriasis community by my peers? Would there be a community for Lichen Planus that was just as strong as the psoriasis family? At this point, I've never wanted psoriasis SO bad in my entire life. I joke, but my fears of having a new disease were truly real.
The big reveal...wait for it...
She asked had I ever had a biopsy done on my skin. As I sat back and reflected over all my doctor appointments and sadly the answer was no. As a child, the doctor told me I was too young for a biopsy and determined it was psoriasis by the appearance of my disease. Now being well into adulthood, my new doctor advised a biopsy to determine what my disease truly was and what should be the next step. With much hesitation, I finally agreed. In that moment I began to accept the fact that what I had been dealing with all these years may not be psoriasis since it didn't fit the description given in a text book and I could never find a medicine that worked for me.
Next, the doctor pulled out her tools, numbed an area on my arm, and took a small chunk of skin to be sent off for testing. A week later I was called into the office to receive my test results. You would have thought I was a nominee at the academy awards with the way anticipation was running through my body. This was the big moment I had been waiting for... The doctor walks in, looks at me an says in her best Maury Povich voice, "Ms. Bridges the skin test determined... you have... Psoriasis."
So she probably didn't say it exactly like that, but that's what it seemed like in my head. I was relieved that I had psoriasis, and had never been happier to actually have this disease. I soon moved on to another doctor, but I will never forget the moment when I had to consider the idea of not having psoriasis.
How often do you experience brain fog?