Tag Archives: psoriasis and throat infections

PSORIASIS BLOG: Nurse Training And Not Complaining

CATCH UP

I’ve been a bit quiet on the old psoriasis front lately but it’s still there, lingering. I actually noticed that my arms aren’t in the greatest of shape yesterday when I went to Maidstone and the offices of Abbvie in order to talk to some nurses from all over the country about being a self-medicator. It was a 9 hour round trip but worth it I hope, even if the lady at reception was one of those people who regularly occur on my life who sees fit to correct me when I tell them my name: “Hadoke” I said, pronouncing it accurately. “Haddokey,” she replied as she read from her list, presumably thinking that I’ve got to 41 without knowing what I’m actually called. I mean, I know it’s a silly name and one that doesn’t sound how it is spelt but you’d think if anyone had the key that unlocked the secrets to its pronunciation it’d be me.

Anyway, the disparate group of nurses were speaking to patients with various ailments and I was there to explain my injections, how I administer them, how I feel about them, how I remember to do them, and my thoughts in general about my condition. All of those things have been well rehearsed here so I won’t repeat myself but an analogy that I came up with went down well and seemed useful. I emphasised that psoriasis isn’t so much a skin condition as an auto- immune problem and that when I get a sore throat it is a bit like a building detecting smoke – the alarms and sprinklers and everything go off everywhere no matter where the fire is. This is a similar reaction to when my skin goes into overdrive when my throat has a problem – my immune system isn’t targeting the throats, so my skin over repairs itself necessarily. Those of you with properly functioning immune systems get a more efficient response.

My arm, yesterday. File under:  Clever, Not Looking Too.
My arm, yesterday. File under:
Clever, Not Looking Too.

As for my progress, I’m still on Adalimumab every two weeks, with a vitamin D booster and the usual mixture of shampoos and scalp application for my head (still dusty unless I’m really on it) and Pro-Topic for my face (which is keeping it in check very nicely). I have been exercising and trying to limit alcohol with varying degrees of success (“Yay, I’ve had two weeks off the booze – why don’t I celebrate with a swimming pool full of wine and a bucket of gin?”). My arms are a bit itchy and slightly worrying even though my last check up (and bloods) were very positive. It never quite lets you relax this thing, but I’m not letting it get in my way.

PSORIASIS BLOG – Bits and bobs, scabs and spots…

Bits and bobs, scabs and spots…

I wanted to to an update in September entitled “Oh f*ck…” because after a year of being pretty clear I went on holiday, to the sun. By the time I came back, I knew that the tiny little flecks of colour on my skin, and the fact that I felt a bit itchy and uncomfortable, meant that my psoriasis was on the march again. I thought it might be useful to chronicle its unwelcome return to my too too unsullied flesh as it happened. But in a way, I felt that might aid it in its campaign to take root on my body again – plus I was a bit depressed about it – so I didn’t. Now, however, I have an approaching deadline for a play I am meant to be writing, so what better time to give you all an update…?

As we know, the sun can really help clear up the skin, so a week of Verona’s beautiful Vitamin E flavoured illumination, plus the resultant relaxation, would only be good.

It's when it spreads from the usual places like the arms and ankles to the less commonly afflicted parts like the back that you know you're in trouble.
It’s when it spreads from the usual places like the arms and ankles to the less commonly afflicted parts like the back that you know you’re in trouble.

Except…

I had been a bit worried by all the stuff I read in the papers about Doctors prescribing too many antibiotics and how bad that can be. So I asked Dr McBride if perhaps I should give my body a rest. She didn’t really think I should but said that if I was going to it would be safer over the summer when my likelihood of picking up a throat infection would be minimised. What she didn’t tell me to do was give up taking them just before gong on an aeroplane with all its recycled air and close proximity to other people’s germs. But I did. And so I picked up a bit of a streptococcal throat infection and despite the success I have had with my biologics, my arms – and gradually the rest of my body – started showing the tell tales signs of an outbreak. My body temperature also fluctuated and I was extremely agitated by the itchiness that dominoed with goose bumps all over my frame. At one point I thought that these metamorphoses would lead to a spell in hospital, as the last time I’d had a similar resurgence it didn’t abate until it totally wiped me out. I’m used to the odd period where the back of my arms or my elbows and knees have discolouration and dryness, but when the softer skin of the torso or that hardier suff on the back of the hands start showing signs of plaques I know I am in a bit of trouble.

This has been a bit of a bind. Just as there’s an argument that loving and losing is a hell of a lot more painful than never having loved at all, I was perhaps knocked sideways a little because I had started to take a pain free, smooth outer shell for granted. It looked like I was about to be plunged into a revisitation of the dark old days and so I got not a little distressed (which, of course, helps the condition to wage its war). Fortunatley, Doctor McBride wasn’t too concerned, reassuring me as ever that this was normal and that even if it turns out that the biologics aren’t strong enough to help me then there are other options and I mustn’t despair. For now though, the blame is firmly on the sore throat – so back on those antibiotics – and I’m continuing my treatment as before, but with a greater attention to the application of creams and lotions in order to manage this upsurge in plaques.

A couple of months later and I am still covered – but it is not as widespread nor painful as previous major outbreaks. It is a disappointment after such a period of fantastic progress, but it is certainly not as bad as it has been in the past. Everything is relative. I’m mostly stricken on the back of my arms, my knees and the back of my ankles, but it is not too flaky nor is is cracked and raw. I didn’t have to do to hospital and the itching has abated. So while I don’t especially like what I see, I know all too well that I could be feeling a hell of a lot worse.

In the meantime, the other side effect of the holiday is a massive rise in my cholesterol (8.5 having been at a brilliant – for me – 5.2) which is cause for serious concern so I have had to employ the services of a personal trainer and am actively eating and supplementing myself with things specifically designed to make this high figure drop. My blood tests in Decemeber will indicate just how happy a Christmas I will be allowed to have.

Lessons learned – (i) Don’t stop taking prophylactic antibiotics before getting on a plane and (ii) the Italians may well have a relaxed attitude to the consumption of wine and ice cream, but you are not an Italian (iii) it could have been a lot worse.

I had a lovely holiday though. Sun, sea, sand … the scabs didn’t come till later!