25 Oct It’s Not an Infection. It’s the Velociraptors Checking for Weaknesses in the Fences
So, yeah. Turns out those skin infections my GP and I thought I had, that have been resisting treatment since July and only getting worse, well, not so much. Friends, we are going to talk about something I don’t think I have in public before because the general public is dangerously ignorant about the topic. Today, we are going to talk about psoriasis. That thing people think is just a pesky skin rash and mock treatment commercials about it.
Psoriasis kills. No joke. There is a 1.99-times increase in mortality in people who have moderate to severe psoriasis. Because it turns out, that if the largest organ in your body is being constantly attacked by your immune system, a whole bunch of other things get attacked in the process and the body shuts down.
Before I get to that, let me talk about my specific velociraptors. Yesterday, I got some pretty unwelcomed news during my quarterly dermatologist appointment. My infections? Yeah, I’ve just developed a fourth type of psoriasis after nearly 42 years with this autoimmune disease. This is while being on a biologic that worked like magic in the past and put my disease in remission.
This time, my immune system has decided to really fight back against treatment, resulting in inverse psoriasis which is a whole new level of torture I couldn’t have ever imagined. So now, I’m on yet another immunosuppressant but this one is a topical application. To be clear, this is in addition to my biologic. And it isn’t cheap. And it may just not work.
So now, I have guttate psoriasis (my main type since I was 6) which covers up to 85% of my entire body when not treated and does not resolve itself like a typical presentation because of course it doesn’t; nail psoriasis (started to develop when I was about 11) which affects all my nails to various degrees; plaque psoriasis (which developed in early 20s) on my knees, elbows and face; and now inverse psoriasis on my scalp, face, ears, groin, pubic area, and perineum (sorry TMI) and butt crack. The inverse psoriasis that has completely engulfed my eyes and ears has to be the most painful part of it.
I hate it, thanks.
Let’s talk about the morbidity part of this disease. As psoriasis attacks the skin, it also attacks the nervous system. So, migraines and fibromyalgia are two things that often secondary to psoriasis. It can also lead to Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis. True story. Also, bipolar and schizophrenia and anxiety and other mood disorders that are not because of low self-esteem because of how we look, but because of how it attacks nerve cells, neurons and neurotransmitters and just kills them over time. Fun stuff, right?
I have a few of those fun neuro disorders because of psoriasis.
Let’s go down the list of some of the other things that psoriasis can lead to and I’ll CHECK the ones which apply to me. The list is not exhaustive.
- Difficult to treat hypertension that isn’t the result of “poor lifestyle” (CHECK)
- Hyperlipidaemia that isn’t the result of “poor lifestyle” (CHECK)
- Kidney disease (Borderline and on treatment to hopefully not let it progress)
- Coronary disease (not yet but because of things above, we have to watch for it closely)
- Certain types of cancers (have had precancerous tumours removed and we constantly have to watch for it)
- Irritable Bowel Disease
- Lupus (was misdiagnosed with this once because of how my psoriasis decided to present once upon a time)
- Psoriatic Arthritis (was misdiagnosed with this but turns out it was “just” my autism and hypermobility having a good time together and now do Occupation Therapy type stuff)
- Metabolic Syndrome (Borderline and doing preventative stuff to not let it progress)
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Psychiatric Disorders (history of depression and anxiety as the result of CPTSS but psoriasis flares can make it worse because of the inherit extra neurotransmitter disruption)
- Chronic fatigue (CHECK)
- Brain fog (CHECK)
- Eye Disease (CHECK)
- Celiac Disease
- Vitamin D deficiency (CHECK)
- Iron Deficiency Anemia (CHECK)
- Body Temperature Regulation Issues (CHECK)
- Migraines (CHECK)
- Neuropathy (CHECK)
- Hair loss
- Not to mention the chronic severe skin on fire pain and itching because of the “rash” (CHECK)
I’m just going to leave it there because I think that’s enough for people to get the picture. All of this because I have an immune system that has decided my largest organ is an enemy that needs to die. (Side note: Let me briefly rant about articles that are all, “How to Boost Your Immune System to Fight Psoriasis. FUCK NO! MY IMMUNE SYSTEM BEING BOOSTED IS THE FUCKING PROBLEM! WE NEED TO SUPRESS THIS MOTHER FUCKER AND GET IT TO CALM THE FUCK DOWN! A boosted immune system is an autoimmune disorder. You don’t want that!)
The more difficult to treat, the more types one has, the more not good is the long-term prognosis. So, yeah. Yesterday’s news was very unwelcomed. It is much easier to deal with and cope with infections as the result of being intentionally immunosuppressed than it is to deal with an immune system that just wants you dead and fighting really hard to find the holes in the fencing to do exactly that.
And if you didn’t appreciate psoriasis for what it is before, I hope you do now.