Way back in 2001 I was planning for my wedding and enjoying the fun and stress of one of life’s major events brings. Just about everything was agreed and sorted when nine weeks before the wedding a very traumatic event happened; my Fiancé died of Sudden Adult Death syndrome. He was 26 years old and as fit as anyone of his age should be; in fact we were both in the gym when it happened.
Recovery from his death was incredibly hard mentally but I am very happy to say that now many years on I am happily married to my husband Matthew and we have three (yes we are a bit crazy) gorgeous boys and a great life! Physically however, the stress triggered a type of Psoriasis in my body which I have since learned is aggravated by certain situations and lifestyles including diet and stress.
I think most people I know would probably say that I handle stress very well, except my husband who has to live with me, (lol) but I have learned that the Psoriasis is how my body outlets stress!
Actually I am very fortunate as most of the time my symptoms are contained to patches on my elbows and knees and when I am in good health they are very small and do not affect me, but now and again it flairs up. When I compare it to some sufferers who have extensive patches in their hair and on their face I am fortunate that my outbreaks so far are limited to small patches about 0.5cm in diameter which appear on my arms, legs, back, torso and occasionally on my face.
When my parents went through a very nasty divorce about 5 years ago the Psoriasis came out all over my body and resulted in me having to have Light treatment at Hospital three times per week for six weeks. I’m not sure what was more stressful, trying to hold down my job as a project manager and look after a six month old baby, combined with the divorce or the actual visits three times a week to the hospital. One thing is for sure, during those visits I met other patients with all manner of illnesses much worse than mine and it really kept my life in perspective. In the end I gave up the light treatment, and one of the main reasons for this were the side affects – skin ageing and skin cancer risk – with time and less stress the flair up settled down.
One of the things I have realised is that alcohol makes it worse and I think certain foods do too. The day after having a few drinks I can literally feel the patches on my elbows and knees getting sore.
Well this week I have started to get a flare up on my arms and legs and I’m pretty sure this is as a result of two rather fun filled holidays which have involved a bit too much wine and interestingly white wine. As I’m not particularly stressed at the moment ( makes a change) I’m pretty certain it’s down to diet, so I’ve decided to cut out junk and alcohol for a while and see if I can heal my body from the inside out.
My usual diet is generally very healthy, I exercise almost every other day and only drink at the weekends in moderation ( unlike my UNI days) and do eat chocolate and other yummy snacks but do tend to keep this under control.
Over the past 3 weeks we have still eaten very healthy meals, but have drunk wine every day, eaten salt and sugar laden snacks every day and had quite a few late nights. I think my body is saying enough is enough and so I am embarking on a Psoriasis Meal plan http://pinterest.com/pin/535365474424122975/which I found via Pinterest online on Derma Harmony, a website that specialises in skincare health. The diet is normal, non-faddy and includes a lot of foods that I already like and enjoy.
The emphasis in our psoriasis diet is on vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and true whole grains (that is, not ground or otherwise altered for the purpose of making “whole grain” breads, pastas, crackers, etc). The hard part will be cutting out the wine and sugary/ salty snacks that I also love, but I am really going to give it a go.
I would love to hear from anyone who suffers from Psoriasis too and hear how you manage it and if anyone fancies joining me on this venture, do let me know.