You Get A Giveaway! You Get A Giveaway! Everyone Gets A Giveaway!

giveaway-pink-polka-dot

 

So, FREE stuff rocks.

With that said, I’m having my first giveaway soon! Thanks to Etsy and all the absolutely amazing people working so hard on there, I’m happy to say that I’ll be giving away at least 5 really amazing travel packages. Why?

Well, I travel a lot. And it’s been really tough on my body and my skin. A lot of the time I carry my bag on just because it’s easier (or because I’m cheap and not paying $25!!) – so I know if I bring my creams and medicines and special shampoos, I risk having them tossed.

In the near future I’ll be posting a blog about traveling with psoriasis and to the first 5 people who post a picture of their psoriasis or their battle with psoriasis on my Facebook page …. Facebook.com/SeeingPspots … I will be sending you a toiletry bag (I have men’s and women’s, don’t worry) with creams and oils and soaps and lots of fun stuff to bring on your next trip.

I’ll be in touch soon but for now LIKE my Facebook and follow me. I’ll let you know a week in advance when this will take place.

Hugs and Love to you All!

#KeepCalmAndSpotOn

 

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

What’s Stress Got To Do With It?

O.K. So Tina wasn’t singing about stress but for people with Psoriasis, stress certainly doesn’t feel like a “secondhand emotion”. So, why exactly DOES stress affect our bodies so much?

Well, stress can cause a lot of ailments and discomforts in the body. First let’s look at stress by itself. Stress is an emotional and sometimes physical reaction that your body has in response to an outside threat or demand. When you feel threatened, your nervous system reacts by flooding the body with stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which gear the body up for emergency action. So why does my skin react??

Although medical professionals still have a lot to learn about Psoriasis, they do know that it is an autoimmune related skin condition. It is thought to occur when the immune system turns on the body creating an overproduction of skin cells (that’s why we have those fun white patches of built up skin). I don’t know about you but if my body is going all civil war on itself, It’s stressed out!!

So, if you’re body is like mine and stress is a trigger, here are some handy dandy tips and suggestions:

-Exercise! Get your butt up and get that adrenaline coursing. It will release your happy hormones too!

-Meditate. Put some OHM in your life.

-Put down that bad habit. Alcohol, drugs and even smoking can heighten your stress levels. Cut them back or cut them out!

-Get enough sleep. Catching those needed ZzZ’s helps your body re-energize and relax.

-Reduce caffeine and sugar. These temporary “highs” will send your system into crash mode as soon as they start wearing off.

-Eat healthy. Believe it or not, changing the way I eat helped my psoriasis tremendously.

Is stress a trigger for you? What do you do to help manage it!

 

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

Tattoos and Psoriasis

Pso…. (see what I did there?) No, seriously. So, I have quite a bit of ink. During my first flare-up I was actually getting a tattoo. At this point my psoriasis was undiagnosed and I had just a few areas that had spots. No biggie. I went through with the tattoo. WELL…. Not my best decision.

My psoriasis responds to stress. It’s like sprinkling water on a gremlin; all hell breaks loose. I love my tattoos but a tattoo is just injury to the skin, injuries cause stress, voila -> flare-up. Everyone has their own opinions on whether or not a person with psoriasis should be getting inked. Personally, I recommend not getting a tattoo during a flare up. Any way you can help your body and not harm your body is a plus during this period and Dr. Wasserman a Bakersfield, Calif., dermatologist and clinical researcher, seems to agree.

“One of the issues, any time the skin is traumatized, is psoriasis can occur in that area,” says Wasserman, referring to what’s known as the Koebner phenomenon. “And tattoos are trauma. In order to get a tattoo, needles have to be put in and there’s trauma that happens to the skin. It’s likely to bring up psoriasis in those areas.”*

Is it medically proven? Not really but why risk it. My tattoo is still unfinished a year later because I want almost completely clear skin when I go to finish it. And honestly, I probably won’t be getting more after it but if I were diagnosed sooner in life, I probably would have gotten a few and taken my chances.

In this case and any others, please consult your physician.

Does anyone have tattoos and psoriasis?

*National Psoriasis Foundation Interview : http://www.psoriasis.org/advance/features/to-tattoo-or-not-to-tattoo-psoriasis

Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends

O.K. so I don’t think any of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. cast members has psoriasis BUT I cannot stress how important it is to have support when you are struggling with psoriasis. When I first found out I spent DAYS in bed. You can’t really understand how horrible it feels to have much of your skin taken over by your own bodies immune system. ::: Insert dramatic, tearful fall to knees action :::    WHYYYYYYY LORD, WHYYYYYYY?    ::: shakes fist at sky :::

Sigh. I know. It psucks. But when i got my butt out of bed and threw myself head first into my disease by writing about it, talking about it, venting about it and blogging about it, I began to meet people who were willing to talk about their struggle. And I promise it makes all the difference. (I talk to Brooklyn the Wonder Pup all the time about it!)

I think we as psoriasis sufferers tend to be so accustomed to hiding under layers of clothes and lies about our skin that we just don’t know how to be open about it. “What’s everyone going to think if they know? I’m not dirty. It’s not contagious. Am I not going to be invited to go into Amanda’s pool next weekend? Will everyone be disgusted by my flaking skin?” And my answer to all those will be, some people are going to be ignorant, yes, and most people are not going to understand your daily struggle with the disease but I can almost say with 100% certainty that ANYONE within the psoriasis community will embrace you and support you.

So please… inform yourself so that you can inform others and don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone anywhere in the psoriasis community. If anyone literally feels your pain, we do.

ON THAT NOTE… I’m going to leave the board open to discussion and I promise I will answer every question. Consider me your first Pso. Friend =) – Brittany