This is my true story. A story of how I woke up nearly every single day, from age 12 to 27, tormented by a severe, chronic affliction called psoriasis, combined with terrible hay fever throughout half the year. From having no will to face the world being harrassed by a form of psoriasis so extreme that my entire body, face included, was covered in painful, itching rashes, to being and feeling so healthy and alive that climbing, bouldering and weight lifting feels like a breeze. This is the story of how I gained my life back. When I was 21, I felt like 31. Now I’ve changed the numbers around.
My troubles started after a particularly hot day in spring, as a carefree 12-year-old. After a day of being outside with street mates, because that’s what we did in a time when the digital age hadn’t filtered through all layers of society yet, I found myself having a rash on the inside skin of my elbows. Nothing severe, but as it was rather itchy I subconsciously kept rubbing it, resulting in a larger affected area, more itching, and ending up in a positive feedback loop. I went to my GP, who provided me with skin cream. It treated the symptoms pretty well for the first two weeks. Then it returned, and got worse. In less than a month, the rashes had spread out to areas such as my knee pits, neck, face, and armpits: practically any place where skin folds. Over the course of a few months, visiting one GP turned to visiting four GPs and two dermatologists. Two-weekly visits to the doctor’s turned to weekly visits to the hospital with a blood test to check up whether my kidneys could handle medicinal nuketown. Different creams and salves were replaced by a number of different pills such as carcinogenic auto-immune inhibitors, tar treatments and even injections so heavy that I could only take them once every half a year. In the end, I was simultaneously on three different skin creams, two different pills, an injection every half a year and the odd acute nightly visit to the emergency post. Every different medicine worked for a few weeks, after which the initial symptoms returned in an even more severe condition. Being a secondary school student, it felt absolutely horrible not just to feel bad physically, but to look bad. The skin was flaking off my face as if covered in dry wax, and everyone noticed. It was red, sore, swollen and hot, and underneath my clothes even a slight stretching movement would cause my skin to break, to leak, to turn red, and would increase that itchy feeling for the next 21 hours, not counting the 2 or 3 hours a night I actually managed to sleep. Sometimes I had to wear handcuffs and gloves not to scratch myself in my sleep. It had turned so bad that there were moments in my life when it all just could have ended. The only thing stopping me from putting that into practice was having a mum, dad, brother and sister whom I loved dearly, and their feeling mutual about that. I could not do it because of them, but if in some miraculous way I could step out without anyone suffering my loss, I would gladly accept the way out.
This is not a story about grief, though. It is a story about survival. Therefore, I will no longer divulge about how terrible I felt for the largest part of my early teens until my young adult part of life at 27, but suffice it to say that I suffered. Heavily. Consistently. Until a pivotal moment in my life.
Look out for Viper Nutrition #2.