Who Is My Family?

I have heard about genetics since I can remember. When I go to my doctor the first thing they ask me about is my family’s history. They want to know who in your family has had a heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol, mental illness or any other medical history.

I was often puzzled by my diagnosis of psoriasis because there’s no one else in my family that has it. All my doctors say that this disease is genetic and it occurs more commonly in relatives of the one that has it. I was told that there is a gene mutation that is passed down from one generation to another. I have researched several generations and found that no one has had psoriasis; so I am always asking myself, how did it get passed down to me? I often wonder how did this happen to me? I didn’t sign up for this.

Not just the genes

I have done some research and often wonder could my environment or background have triggered my psoriasis. I grew up on a farm around animals, did I catch something from them or was it something I ate.  Did a playmate give it to me? What was it at the age of 5 that cause me to go to sleep one night and wake up the next day covered in scales?

The other question that comes to mind is, why didn’t my two sisters get this disease? Why didn’t my mother and father have it, my grandparents? Why doesn’t anyone in my family have it? They say that knowledge is power and this has set me out on a quest to be proactive in research for a cure for this disease. I have 4 grandchildren, who don’t have psoriasis; but will my genes be passed from me to them?

Keeping healthy

It is almost like a calling that has been placed upon my heart so that I am can educate myself about this disease for others. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can itch, burn, has thick scaly plaques and can be very painful. I have developed psoriatic arthritis that has become very painful as well. Over the past year. I have started taking pain pills along with my regular medication to help me. I know that left untreated this disease can be very miserable.

Over the years I have added in some exercise to help me cope with stiffness in my joints. Exercise has been very important to me in my overall health and keeping joints flexible. I find that doing some walking to be a great way to keep the muscles and joints from stiffening up. I actually tried relaxing in the water which seems to be a great way to make the skin feel better.

It's all me on the inside

Now back to what I don’t know; where did I get this disease from? Maybe it goes back 4 or 5 generations and someone had it but didn’t know what it was. Although I didn’t sign up for this disease, I can confidently say, it has made me the person that I am today. I see people from the inside first. I’m a better person because of it.  I try to take care of myself, eat right, exercise and get proper rest.

At the end of the day no matter whether it's genetics or just bad luck, I do know I am here to advocate and educate others about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I’m going to fight for others who can’t fight for themselves. Over the years I have been an active advocate for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, speaking up and out about this disease.

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