Weather is one of my hobbies. People check the weather forecast each day to figure out what to wear, check for travel delays, or if an umbrella is needed. I took it to another level by studying weather and climate as a physical geography major in college. I enjoy talking about the weather so much that in college I applied to a weather department internship at a local television studio. Ultimately I did not follow that route, but my multiple weather apps on my phone tell you I still enjoy looking up the weather. I even think about my psoriasis in terms of weather and seasons.
Like seasons, psoriasis cycles from more mild remission conditions to more severe flaring times. My experience with the cycling, though, is not as predictable as the summer heat coming in July. Recently I tapered down from one of my better psoriasis medications. That triggered a long season of flaring from worse to less bad to worse again. It felt like the summer heat wave forecasted to end in three days that lasted two weeks. I just wanted it to end.
Psoriasis’s unpredictable nature reminds of the weather as well. Despite all the scientific advances and models that meteorologists employ, they still can’t tell me exactly how much rain will fall in my town on a given day. They can even incorrectly forecast the weather for the next day or two. My dermatologist is no better than the weather forecaster in predicting the condition of my psoriasis. Experience tells me that it might get worse with certain triggers such as stress and infection, but can’t predict how much worse. And sometimes the psoriasis just gets better for no apparent reason.
Predicting what my psoriasis will do seems even harder than forecasting the weather.
Last year my wife and I bought a new house for the first time. In our first house, I could feel the wind whistling through the sixty-year-old windows. This new house, though, has the most updated weatherproofing and insulation. When a big storm or prolonged heat wave comes, I don’t worry about the house as much as I used to.
In the same way, I’ve wondered if I can “weatherproof” myself from the inevitable psoriasis flares I know will come. In other words, what are ways to minimize the impact from the unpredictable nature of psoriasis?
Be Your Own Psoriasis Expert
When I move to a new location it takes me a few years to experience and understand the local climate and weather patterns. It also takes time to learn how your psoriasis responds and reacts to different treatments, conditions, and environments. Every person with psoriasis is an individual—that’s why there is no one treatment that works for each person.
Become the expert of your condition by not only living with the condition, but also taking note of patterns, triggers, and treatments that work for you. You experience your unique condition each and every day, and that gives you ample opportunity to be your own psoriasis expert.
Mentally Prepare for Flares
Like winter storms, psoriasis flares will come for me eventually. So when my skin is calmer and manageable the last thing I want to think about is my skin. It’s almost as if I don’t have psoriasis when taking care of my skin becomes an easy routine. The break from constantly thinking and worrying about my skin is always welcome. But I know it usually doesn’t last as long as I’d like.
Knowing that psoriasis comes and goes in cycles helps me mentally prepare for when psoriasis takes a turn for the worse. I keep up my skin care routines, doctor appointments, and therapies. Psoriasis won’t catch me by surprise when I’m more aware and diligent in keeping up with it whether it’s better or worse.
Have Help Readily Available
It’s useful to know where to go when you need assistance for your psoriasis. In college, I didn’t have a great relationship with my dermatologist. She didn’t spend much time with me or instruct me on what to do if I needed anything. I would just wait until my next appointment. One time I flared so severely that I could barely get to class each day. I finally did get some help from my dermatologist at the next appointment, but it was later than I should have.
Today it’s easier to contact your doctor through messaging systems or email. Other aspects of your support network need to be activated quickly such as friends and family, or support online through social media or forums. Having help readily available provides the confidence needed to face any situation.
What is your psoriasis forecast? Whatever it is, you can be prepared for what comes your way.