The initial and tedious diagnosis process

The initial and tedious diagnosis process
Rebecca Meier Psoriasis

Hi, I'm Rebecca! I was diagnosed with chronic moderate plaque psoriasis in 2013, but I had suffered with it since I was a child, not knowing what it was. I'd like to share with others who have psoriasis that even though the path to treatment is foggy, they are not alone!

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Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out my blog. Whether you're looking to learn more about psoriasis or to find somebody to relate to, I hope this helps.

I've had psoriasis for most of my life but wasn't diagnosed until almost 5 years ago.

Since I was young, my scalp was always itchy and flaky. I just thought it was dandruff, and my pediatrician confirmed the same. I noticed in high school that if I would scratch a scalp itch, it would become sore and painful. I just shrugged that off and thought it was normal. My hair hid everything and I wasn't overwhelmed by itchiness, so it didn't bother me much.

I never had any symptoms on my (visible) skin until I began college, and it was just a sore splotch on my arm. I was confused and visited my mom's dermatologist, who told me it was likely eczema and to keep an eye on it. She spoke quickly and seemed in a rush to get me out of the office. I remember clearly that I waited 50 minutes for a 5-minute consultation.

That one spot went away, but a few others popped up and in different areas of my body. I was starting to think this wasn't eczema, but I didn't feel like going back to the dermatologist to be pushed out of the office again. I started researching online and learned about psoriasis. I had heard about it from drug ads on TV but admittedly didn't know anything about it.

With this in mind, I was relieved to (hopefully) finally find an answer to my skin issues. I went back to the same dermatologist (this was a couple years after the first visit) and she confirmed psoriasis after seeing additional spots on my skin. She asked if I had joint pain, prescribed me Taclonex, and I was on my way. 

What bothered me is that my dermatologist never really explained what psoriasis is. I didn't know where it came from, and I had no idea that each day would be different. At the time, I was going through an intense flare-up and was ashamed of my skin (my calves were almost covered at the time). She didn't tell me it would get better or that flare-ups even existed. I was relieved to finally have answers after diagnosis, but I still felt lost.

I'm thankful that that dermatologist gave me a little push in the right direction, but that was the last time I had an appointment with her. And, unfortunately, this didn't end my negative experiences with dermatologists. But I'll write more about that later.

I did some research on my own and taught myself about autoimmune disorders. I learned that they can be genetic, and that they occur as a result of an overactive immune system, in general terms. As far as I was aware, autoimmune conditions didn't run in my family, but I began to understand that I'd be stuck with psoriasis forever and I'd have to make the best of it!

The most important thing I learned is that psoriasis is a different experience for everyone. Just because one treatment works for someone else doesn't mean it will work for me. And I prepped myself for a potentially long and arduous treatment path ahead.