Hi my name is Joyce and from the age of 14 years I have had psoriasis.

In the early days my elbows and feet were affected and my heels would crack. I would have to soak them every night to get my socks off. Over the years it slowly got worse till after my 4th Daughter my whole body was covered.My fingers and hands were that bad I couldn’t even push a pin into their nappies (no disposable nappies then), and bathing, and washing the children’s hair was impossible with 4 girls 7 years, 5 years, 4 years and 6 months old.

I finished up in Dunedin hospital for 4 weeks as I had open cracks.

I was confined to my room with a tar bath (oil of Cade) pushed in twice a day. With the family having to travel from Invercargill to visit it was one weekly visit. After returning home I had to wear cotton gloves and socks all the time and carry on the tar baths. I remember being in a shop one day and a lady saying that she could smell smoked saveloys (just ME). Then came the glad wrap or plastic leg bags and arm bags with plastic wrapped around the body for the night. Puva (Light treatment) was then the thing of the day. Traveling to Dunedin 3 days a week to start with, down to twice weekly then weekly for about 6 months, taking pills 2hrs before treatment with food and wearing dark glasses for the next 24hrs. You also had to avoid warm temperatures. It was very embarrassing staying at a motel and getting up in the morning the floor and bed covered with skin.

Over the years my psoriasis has greatly improved. We now have a filter on the main water supply what a difference that makes, taking all the chlorine out of the water, instead of getting out of the shower and having to put greasy ointment on straight away, I can now have a shower and go out. Have had so many different treatments in the past 55yrs I still find my tar based ointment does the best job. I have found that ointment is the best for me, as creams and lotions just dry my skin out, but everyone is different.

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