Show and Tell

I’ve had psoriasis for over 50 years and have plenty to show and tell. When I was in elementary school, there were a lot of times I felt different and special at the same time. I say this because my psoriasis was very acute and covered 90% of my body at 7 years old.

I had special nurses that would pick me up at school and transport me back and forth to my psoriasis treatment. This was in the 60’s and there wasn’t much information on how to treat this disease. I missed a lot of school due to my disease, even being hospitalized for a while.

I would like to share a bright moment in my elementary school days. Every year we had a special day called, “May Day”, where we did fun things for the whole day. I was in the 2nd grade and my teacher asked everybody to bring in something for show and tell. I didn’t have that luxury of having anything to bring in; so I had to improvise.

I ended up bringing my sister who was 5 at the time. I hid her under the table when I got to school and of course, my teacher ended up seeing her. She scolded me and said that I was not to bring a person for show and tell.

Taking off the mask

When I think of this situation, it reminds me of all the times I’ve had psoriasis and how it was always visible and how it always showed up. I like telling this story because this has been the story of my life for years. I recall wearing masks on this day because there would be nothing to show to the world so therefore I had nothing to tell. I always wanted to put on a mask. It has not been an easy journey when people are questioning you with about what you have; especially when you're a child. You just don’t want to say anything.

As the years have gone by; show and tell is no longer an elementary classroom activity for me. It has become something I take much pride in--to show and tell. I want people to know how long I’ve had this disease, how it has affected my life, how it’s something that has no cure and telling people that this is a disease that many people suffer with from children to adults. There is no discrimination or respect of persons. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. I have no problem showing the effects of my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and telling my story. I want to show you what my disease looks like on the outside as well as the inside.

It brings so much comfort to my heart that I am able to show and tell and I don’t have to hide my life under a table. I don’t have to be scolded because I can tell it.

My heart goes out to people who are afraid to show and tell. I want you to know that you are not alone in this journey. It took me years to get to where I am today. I know that people can be cruel and just don’t understand what you are going though.

My life of show and tell allows me the expression to tell the world. I want to shout to the masses about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. My journey will never stop until we find a cure. As an advocate, I must show up and tell my story. If I don’t tell my story, who will?

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