Hi, my name is Bev, I’m 57 years old and I live in Invercargill.

At the age of 19 I developed thick scaly, itchy plaques on my elbows. My GP gave me gold injections under the skin, it went away for a while, always came back.

In my early 20′s I had itchy plaques on my scalp. My GP referred me to a Dermatologist, he diagnosed me as having psoriasis. Shock horror I had this incurable skin condition. Why me??? I have two older brothers, they never had it and still don’t.

Over the years I was prescribed lots of ointments, lotions (some weren’t the nicest smell wise) and antihistamine tablets but I learned to live with it. In my late 20′s early 30′s I was given cortisone injections for another complaint and my psoriasis went into remission. Then at the age of 35 after having a very stressful year, my fingers started cracking and bleeding, I was referred to a Dermatologist at Southland Hospital. After trying lots of different ointments he then decided to take some skin scrapings. I was told to put super glue over the cracks, this only irritated my skin more. As I didn’t seem to be getting any further ahead, I went back to my GP and asked him for a referral to Dunedin Hospital for a second opinion, which he did. I had now developed “it” at the base of my spine. I remember going to the appointment, the Dermatologist asking me to strip off, he went from the tip of my toes to the top of my head. He confirmed it was psoriasis. He prescribed ointment which was made by the chemist. I had to wear rubber gloves for a few hours a day (they had to be latex free). When I wasn’t wearing them I had to wear cotton gloves. I used to get funny looks at times when I handed over money in shops but I didn’t care. I was in tears with the pain in my fingers, as every time I did something they hurt, even turning pages over in a book.

I was getting depressed not being able to do very much. I was fortunate I was living with my Mother so didn’t have to do the cooking, cleaning etc. One day when my Mother was reading the newspaper she found an add for a meeting for psoriasis suffers and there was a phone number. I remember thinking I’m not alone, others are out there with “it”. I rang the number and talked to a lady, it was so exciting talking to someone with the same as I had. I went to the meeting, it was the best thing I ever did. I have met fellow sufferers, their families and have made life long friendships.

In the early 2000′s I again went into remission for a few years but it has returned again. In recent times I have had it on the soles of my feet, they crack and bleed, I was in agony finding it difficult to walk. Six months after my Mother passed away (2006) I developed psoriasis on my tummy for the first time. Thankfully, after a few months it cleared up. I was under a lot of stress at that time.

At present it is bad on my scalp and have little on my elbows.

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