How Do You Get Rid Of Psoriasis?
How I Saw My Psoriasis Through My Mother's Eyes
A Mother's Memory
As part of that process, I interviewed my mom to better understand what it was like to parent a child with psoriasis. Here is the account my mother gave when I talked to her a few years ago:
When Howard was born, our family was pretty settled. We had just moved into a new home in Connecticut, and his dad had found a good job. I enjoyed a smooth pregnancy and generally experienced joy during that time. He enjoyed a good childhood, so I don’t think the stress of growing up brought on psoriasis.
A few years later, we moved to the Bay Area for another job transition for his father.I first noticed that Howard was having skin problemsafter we bought him a new sleeping bag. He was about 8 years old at the time. In China, whenever we saw skin rashes, we didn’t think too much about them. Normally they would go away after a while. But as his condition grew worse, we visited the doctor, who diagnosed psoriasis and began treating Howard.
I don’t remember the treatments he used at that time, except that I had to drive him to Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center in Oakland, California. It was the only place in the area where they had ultraviolet light or phototherapy equipment.
I remember that first clinic treatment visit clearly, because we'd had an upsetting parent-teacher conference that morning. So not only was I upset about his school situation, I was also quite anxious about driving in rush hour traffic to take him to Oakland, which was about a 45-minute drive. I normally didn’t drive on the freeway those days, which made the drive that much more difficult. After dropping him off at the light box, I would buy him treats such as doughnuts to cheer him up.
As I look back on the experience, I realize how little knowledge we had about psoriasis. We didn’t know much about the disease and how serious it can be. We spent a lot of time outside the home, between my running a small business and Howard’s dad working overtime. I wish we had spent more time taking care of Howard emotionally.
Parents of children withso I hope they take the opportunity to be engaged in their child’s experience with this skin disease. As a mother, I still find myself concerned about Howard’s diet and sleep habits, whether he is getting enough exercise, and so on. On the other hand, I see how his belief in God has helped him endure having psoriasis.
Healing Through Understanding
The most poignant memory my mother and I share relates to the ultraviolet light treatmentsthose early years. The first few times, I didn’t know what to expect and felt scared. But when my mom picked me up with my favorite cream-filled doughnuts in hand, my 9-year-old eyes lit up.
It was only later that I learned how much fear and anxiety she overcame to drive me there, and how much she worried about me. Now that I have kids, I realize the agony that my parents must have endured as they watched their younger son struggle physically and emotionally.
That new understanding catalyzed my healing from the hurt I had sustained as a child with psoriasis. It helped me talk to my mom about those memories, and it has brought us closer together. Today, she still checks up on me, asking about my diet and exercise and giving me motherly advice.
While parents can’t reverse the course of a condition like psoriasis in a child’s life, they can certainly make the difficult path more bearable. They journey with their children day-by-day, learning and growing with them. That’s what my mom did for me, and what I hope to do with my three children.
This Mother’s Day, I want to dedicate this blog to my mom for all the care and concern (and yummy doughnuts) she provided as I muddled through with psoriasis in those early years. Happy Mother’s Day!
If you’d like to read more about my experiences living with psoriasis, check out my blogs and my website.
Photo: Kohei Hara/Getty Images
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