Age: I’ll be 38 my son Andy is 16.
Location: Waterford, MI
Who in your life is effected by psoriasis: Myself, my son Andy, and many on my biological father’s side of the family.
3 words to describe your journey: Hard, but hopeful
What made you decide to take your son to the doctor? What were the first signs of an issue being there: At age 4, my husband Nelson said Andy’s scalp wasn’t right. I attributed it to cradle cap, which he had as a baby. Nelson insisted taking him to the pediatrician. She treated him with antibiotics for ringworm for about a month. When it didn’t clear, she referred us to a dermatologist who took one look at it and said psoriasis. He did a biopsy to confirm. The dermatologist said that psoriasis can happen anywhere on the skin, not just the scalp, and told us to be on the lookout for red spots on the skin. Within 3 months, he was covered head to toe with psoriasis, most likely resulting from an ear infection. At age 5, he was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, though, in hindsight, he probably had this earlier.
What was the first feeling you felt when your son was diagnosed with psoriasis: I felt like a horrible mother because I was so convinced it was cradle cap. My husband immediately started looking for information on psoriasis on the NPF website. The oils and medication for his scalp were messy, smelly, and difficult to manage. Medications got worse when the rest of his skin was covered.
What has been the hardest part with dealing with the disease, how do you overcome it: The hardest part is the guilt that can creep up, especially when Andy is in a big flare. Andy was diagnosed 3 years before I was, and since we weren’t very close to my biological father’s side of the family, we didn’t even know what psoriasis was or that it can be hereditary. Most likely, I had given Andy the psoriasis genes without even knowing it. Once I was diagnosed, that’s when I learned about other family members with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
What advice would you give to parents dealing with children who have psoriasis or other skin diseases: Children are tougher than we give them credit for. Be there to support your child, but don’t hover. Psoriasis is only a part of who they are. Your child is so much more than this disease. Give them room to spread their wings and take in all life has to offer. Chances are, your child will be teased, questioned, or receive funny looks. Empower your child to use those opportunities to educate. Not only will your child feel better about taking control of the disease, but your child will be doing a great service by spreading awareness. At age 4, Andy was already describing his psoriasis in this way: I have psoriasis. It’s like having a lot of bug bites. They itch a lot, but don’t worry. You can’t catch psoriasis.
How do you help your loved one conquer psoriasis and not suffer from it: I think Andy does more to support me. He’s always had a laid-back, go-with-th-flow attitude. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have been with him for as long as he can remember. It’s just part of his life. He doesn’t hide from it, and he doesn’t care much about what people think. I think he’s got a great attitude, and I try to remember that when I am struggling myself.
What are your goals to continue the fight against psoriasis and what have you done in the past: My goals to fight psoriasis is simple: spread awareness. Tell our story and get a captive audience. When people care enough to listen, they will care enough to join your cause and help make a difference where they can, such as donating to research, changing health policies with government action, or simply just continue to spread the awareness on our behalf.
Social Media Info:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Jaime Lyn Moy