Goodbye Black Clothes: A Love Poem ?

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Goodbye black clothes,
Wherever you are.
Trapped in my closet,
The trunk of my car?

Goodbye black clothes,
That I’ve tucked away.
The depths of my drawers,
In bins, where I can’t say.

Goodbye black clothes,
That collect all my flakes.
I’ll never see you,
On one of my dates.

Goodbye black clothes,
I’ve loved you so much.
Your smell from the dryer,
Your soft, gentle touch.

Goodbye black clothes,
It’s great when it lasts.
Too bad I have skin,
Covered in plaques.

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Eat Well Wednesdays! Grilled Chicken Kale Caesar Salad ala Nikki

Eating healthy is an important part of keeping your chronic illness under wraps. I find the best way to make sure you’re doing this is to meal prep but not everyone has time for that.

So here’s a super easy, quick, healthy kale salad that a friend whipped up for me. It’s definitely a new favorite.

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INGREDIENTS:

Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano
1 avocado
Kosher salt
1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed
Chicken cut into cubes
1/2 red onion
Caesar dressing

DIRECTIONS:

Coat a large pan with olive oil. Toss in thinly sliced onion and bring the pan to medium heat. Toss in cubes of chicken and stir until fully cooked and onion is soft. Remove from the heat and reserve.
In a bowl, toss in the kale, the cooked chicken/onion, chop up one avocado and place inside mix, sprinkle with Parmigiano and add dressing (but don’t soak the salad). Taste and season with salt if needed.

Voila! Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Nikki Bucks, cook extraordinaire and fitness instructor.

Traveling With Psoriasis

So, as you may or may not know, I do tend to travel a lot. Whether it’s for work or play, traveling with psoriasis can suck! So what do I do?

This weekend I was in Chicago attending the HealtheVoices conference and it was amazing (but I’ll come back to that in another blog). What WASN’T amazing was my packing skills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a plane (not nearly as many as Beyonce but you know…) and I still can’t get it together. I’m always scrambling last minute. (insert frantic emoji)

SO … I decided to get it together.

BECAUSE my skin is so sensitive and I do need special creams and lotions and shampoos, I packed myself a little “Pspot-On Carry-On” toiletry bag. Everyone is different and I am no medical professional but I’ll tell you what I pulled out of my little bag of tricks… (and, no, it wasn’t a lamp).

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We know clothing is important (for your skin, sanity, so you don’t get arrested… stuff like that) but let’s focus on some products. Here’s my arsenal:

-Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap

-Grandpa’s Pine Tar Shampoo

-Blue Eiffel Naturals Face & Body Wash

-TheSleepyCottage sleep mask

-Any sort of baby lotion

-VitaminC Packet (just because)

-My own soft washcloth

-Any perfume I want (so long as I spritz it on my clothes and not my skin)

-A clean pair of panties (ask my mom… i can hear her nagging now… “Do you want to die with dirty underwear??” OK MAAAAAA, They’re packed! Ya Happy?)

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I tucked all my toiletries into this beautifully sewn bag and It was a wrap! Why didn’t I think of this sooner????

Moral of the story??? Just have a handy toiletry bag ready to go. Throw some of the amazing products I suggested in it (or don’t) but be ready. You never know where a spot may go….

HAPPY TRAVELS !!!

 

Why Caring About Psoriatic Arthritis Could Come In Handy

When I was initially diagnosed with Severe Plaque Psoriasis I completely ignored all other forms of psoriasis. Why? Well, It certainly wasn’t to be cruel but I was just too busy wallowing in my own self psoriasis pity. I knew what version I had now and I had to focus primarily on what was happening to ME. Who cares about those other spotty people right? WRONG.

So fast forward a bit and It eventually sinks in that OH, because I have plaque psoriasis I am more susceptible to psoriatic arthritis at some point. Um, can anyone say yikes? Needless to say I was not happy about this revelation. But much like my realization and acceptance of plaque psoriasis, this too took a little bit of time to sink in but it sank… like the titanic. In fact, months after my own diagnosis and the constant wheel spinning of “where in the heck did this come from in my family?”, I was having lunch with my father and grandfather and BLAM. There it was. Right in front of me eating a pastrami sandwich. My grandfathers hands.

Psoriatic Arthritis: Hands
Soft-tissue swelling can be seen in the metacarpophalangeal joints bilaterally. Marked deformity in both fifth digits has produced telescoping of the joints. There is also sausage-like swelling of the right third digit. No psoriatic skin changes have occurred on the hands, but onycholysis of several nails is present, most easily seen in the left second digit.

Curled up into painful piles of bones were my grandfathers fingers. I had always noticed them, they were hard to miss, but they didn’t LOOK like my skin so I never made the connection. As a very stern, stubborn, former navy dude, my grandfather (or papa as I like to call him) never went to get this officially checked out. It was waved off and grunted at as “no big deal” or “just getting old”. But it was very clear to me that I was looking at a case of very obvious Psoriatic Arthritis and I didn’t need a medical degree to come to this conclusion. So what came next? AH! The revelation that my chances of PsA just increased substantially. I felt the pain and dread lurch over me and force me into a submissive physical hunch. So what now? Acceptance? Submission? Knowledge? A little mix of all three? I was in favor of a healthy mix.

So to the web I went…

What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear.
So, again, why should I worry?
Well, I have arthritis in my family gene pool AND I have psoriasis so essentially I’m a psoriatic ticking time bomb. Factually, about a third of people with psoriasis will get psoriatic arthritis. People with SEVERE psoriasis (yup, like mine) could have a larger chance and USUALLY the skin symptoms pop up first. Lucky me, I know. According to an article by WebMD, “The Link Between Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis” reviewed by David Zelman, MD**, “About 40% of people who get psoriatic arthritis have relatives with it or with psoriasis. Scientists don’t know which genes are responsible for these conditions.”.
So what now?
Buckle up and wait for the psoriasis train to pick me up and take me on another ride, again. Keep up with my doctors and my skin and prepare for the worst. As my papa would say “screw it, it’s all in your head anyway” and then he would order a martini. Psoriatic pinky up and all. Cheers!
FIND MORE INFORMATION at PsACounts.com !!!

*NOTE That the image in this article is NOT mine or my grandfathers (as in, they aren’t his hands but are super close to what his actually look like. I’ll have to catch him mid pastrami chomp next luncheon) but in fact belong to The American College of Rheumatology as watermarked. Thank you guys.

**WebMd Article Link: http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/link-between-psoriasis-and-psoriatic-arthritis

***Brittany Hands Photo Credit: Jay Lee

The First Psign Of Pspots…

I dreaded this day but it’s here: The first sign of psoriasis.

I know it seems small from the picture (it’s a camera phone, cut me some slack) but my psoriasis seems to be making a triumphant return! yay!

No, seriously. My psoriasis seems to be creeping up on me. It started on my legs (as seen in picture, along with a wrestling belt – don’t judge me) my torso and, lastly, my face which is tough because, if you didn’t notice, I’m a woman and we like makeup sometimes. So what do I do?

For my face, I just do my best to keep makeup off of it as best as I can. I wash it but not too often because I don’t like to dry my skin out. I’m a big fan of tar soap so I apply that or some other “derm. approved” face wash.

For my body I stick with the Tar soaps or baby wash. I keep my showers at a warm, not hot, temperature. I wash my hair as infrequently as it allows (gross but true). I moisturize and I APPLY MY MEDICATIONS! If you have been given topicals by your doctor, please… use them! Nip this in the bud. But if you have no topicals, can’t afford the medications or just need time to get to a dermatologist, I encourage over-the-counter creams with tar. They smell, they’re not pretty, but slap that sucker on to your skin and saran wrap it up overnight.

The key is to find your own flow, your own routine, and just stick with it. Keep informing yourself regarding different treatment methods and what’s out there for psoriasis. Stay ahead of the game and on top of your health.

** I always encourage you to seek professional medical attention. All views and opinions here are my own and I am NOT a doctor **

My Psoriasis “Family”

A few months ago I was introduced to an amazing group of people that I like to call my “Pso. Family”, and that’s exactly what they are to me (minus the Italian screaming across the table and the occasional “Fuggetaboutit”). Even though psoriasis affects 3% of the worlds population, that’s approximately 125 million people worldwide*, the community of people who are willing to speak about it is relatively small. This doesn’t surprise me. We have become so accustomed to covered our skin condition literally with clothes and even just hiding indoors that we seem to have incorporated this stigma with us in a mental capacity.

I am fortunate enough to be an advocate and volunteer for The National Psoriasis Foundation. This invitation has not only opened so many amazing doors for me but it has allowed me to interact and welcome fellow psoriasis sufferers into my life. Not only are these people my support system, my friends, my colleagues, and my heroes in a lot of ways but they are also my second family.

Even if you don’t feel comfortable talking about your psoriasis, I highly recommend finding a support system that listens to you when you need to talk and supports you when you need to be lifted up a bit. There are so many things to dislike about this disease but my Pso. Family is not one of them. Find your “family” and I promise it will make a world of difference for you and your skin.

Now can somebody pass the meatballs and sauce??? Fuggetaboutit!

*Psoriasis.org

How The H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks (HELL) Did You Do It???

Due to the OVERWHELMING request from you guys to know what I do to help my skin, (did I mention how appreciative I am for all the love? Well, I am.) I’m dedicating an entire blog to you all and spilling the beans. Please keep in mind *** I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, ALL ACCOUNTS ARE MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING WITH ANY MEDICAL CONDITION *** Now that we got the boring stuff out of the way…

Early 2014 I ran into a few life snags. I was stressed, I was eating poorly due to this and I just wasn’t taking care of myself. At All. As my stress increased, i began to see tiny dots on my body. I visited a doctor and he diagnosed it as Guttate Psoriasis (thanks doc. for the $200 bill… you were wrong). He gave me a topical lotion with steroids and sent me on my way.

A month passed and it just got worse. The tiny circles were now giant red, irritated, bleeding circles. Ouch. Not only were they painful but they began to itch and grow plaques (white scales that just fell of all over the house). How embarrassing !?!? But no one was telling me what to do because NO ONE KNEW. The sad thing is… most doctors are not informed enough to inform us. So what do you do? I took charge and researched and researched and then I cried and cried. Was I going to look like this forever? Who will want to date me? Who will even want to be in public with me? So I became pro-active.

AGAIN, DO NOT TAKE WHAT I TELL YOU AS SERIOUS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK OUT A PHYSICIAN.

TIPS:

-Don’t itch. I know it hurts, I know it itches and I know you want to pick those tiny little pieces of skin that seem to just about be falling off. DON’T. Let them come off on their own.

-Showers… luke warm showers. Not hot. And do not cheat and use a loofa (I know who you are). Use a bar of soap or a lather from a liquid soap. I recommend any baby soaps as they have little or no chemicals in them (same for lotions) … also, tar soaps have been amazing to me but everyones skin is different. Trial and error is best. Head and Shoulders for hair or T-Gel for hair. They are expensive so use them only when needed and don’t over wash hair if you don’t need to. Oils are OK!!

-As said above, keep your lotions chemical free. Baby lotions work best for me.

-Washing your clothes seems like a small thing but the detergent you use can affect your skin as well. Tide works best for me so I buy the Tide Pods.

– I don’t know what or if your doctor prescribed or recommended a lotion. If he or she did, i suggest rubbing it on the parts of your body that need it… if he did not then I suggest buying TAR based lotions an rubbing it on and saran wrapping those body parts. It seems ridiculous but it keeps the lotion on and soaks it in overnight. Your skin will be soft and supple in the morning.

-If you itch in the evening, wear gloves. Ridiculous? YUP! but you will be clear as soon as you can spell PSORIASIS.

-KEEP YOUR NAILS SHORT!!! This leaves less room for scratching. I know it sucks ladies but it’s worth it.

-Vitamins!!!! Take a daily vitamin and some vitamin D every day

-Your diet. When I chose to eat better my body thanked me. I limited alcohol consumption, red meat and I started eating Paleo. Paleo is essentially what the “cavemen” ate. Anything you can pick or kill. Fruits, veggies, meats. No carbs or sugars. If not just for your disease, do it for your overall health. You will feel stronger, healthier and happier. I assure you.

-Add exercise!!!! This disease attacks our immune system. Attack it back!!! Eat right, work out, kick it’s ass!!

There are many other things I recommend but will not on my blog. Medications have helped many people, I myself used UV therapy, topical lotions, etc. All things your doctor can prescribe …

BUT my general advice is eat right, treat your skin well. get some natural sunlight. and be positive. it seems simple but im living proof. I love you all and feel your pain. I am here always for any of you. ❤ SeeingPspots

I am ALWAYS available for support and question at seeingpspots@gmail.com ❤ Keep positive, keep hope