psoriasis monster hiding behind skin

Psoriasis Sneak Attack - Even the Experts Get Fooled!

I write this article with a twinge of embarrassment because what follows are three times that even I was fooled by my psoriasis. You would think that being immersed in the psoriasis world would make you immune (pun intended) to psoriasis surprises, but even the experts are fooled sometimes. :)

What’s that in my ears?

When I was in University I was suddenly struck by unexplained dizziness. A few doctors told me that it was probably a viral infection and that it would resolve itself (when I asked how long, the answers ranged from weeks to possibly a year!). I waited and waited, but still, the dizziness remained. Finally, one walk-in clinic Doctor at my University decided to take a look in my ears. He remarked, astonished, that my ears were full of dead skin/wax. Turns out that all that build-up was putting pressure on my inner ear and throwing off my balance. The nurse flushed out my ears with saline and my dizziness was instantly resolved. Now every few years I have to get my ears flushed out or the dizziness returns. So many people with psoriasis have complained of this same thing, but I just didn’t put two and two together.

What’s that on my toes?

For close to two decades I have been self-conscious about my toenails. I remember asking my family doctor when I was in my teens why my toenails seemed so brittle and yellowish. He was never able to give me a straight answer, and he was never able to recommend anything. For years and years, I just assumed that my toenails were strangely yellow for no reason at all. Yeah, duh. It wasn’t until last year that it finally clicked for me – psoriasis. For someone who spends all day sharing info like how psoriasis affects your nails with other people, it certainly took a while for me to clue in!

What’s that on my scar?

I’ll finish with my most recent example. Last month I had to have a mole removed, which turned out to be pre-cancerous (everybody please get your suspicious moles checked by a Doctor/Dermatologist!). The excision went well; I left the office with 5 stitches and clear instructions on how to care for my suture. I’m nothing if not a diligent student! I was completely compliant with my care procedure. I changed my dressing every day, carefully applied my antibiotic cream, and made sure to keep it completely dry. I came back to the office one week later to have the stitches removed, and things went downhill from there. Every day the scar seemed to get redder and redder. I thought for sure it was infected, but I had been so careful, and I didn’t have any other signs of infection other than the inflammation. Then the area started to get super flaky. I thought “dang, how is this thing drying out so badly?” I started applying Vaseline hoping to keep the dryness at bay. After more than a month, when this thing should have been completely healed, it finally dawned on me – the Koebner phenomenon! I’d never experienced it before. The Koebner phenomenon is the tendency for cuts/scrapes to be overtaken by psoriasis. Sure enough, that’s what was going on. I can’t even tell if the scar has healed because it’s completely covered in psoriasis!

Is this symptom related to my psoriasis?

I’m certainly not suggesting that every strange symptom or weird bodily response is related to psoriasis, but it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and look at things with fresh eyes. Is there something going on that we know is linked to psoriasis or chronic inflammation? Maybe persistent fatigue, formication, eye pain, or even… yellow nails! Maybe the answer has been right in front of you all along! Next time you're with your dermatologist, don't be afraid to ask.

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