I’ve been dealing with psoriasis for over 4 years now… I just wanted to report a good day just so I can remember the hopeful feeling that my itchy and red patches of skin may return to normal one day.
My first patch appeared on my scalp near my forehead, and when I went to my GP he gave me a steroid cream and it quickly went away with less than a week of use.
Then fast forward maybe a year later – stress from being let go from work (the company moved to SF), a bad break up and moving out of the ex’s house – all of it added together led to the beginning of an stubborn patch near the same spot, small enough to ignore and hide with a little bit of careful grooming.
Then fast forward to uprooting my life to London, all of the environmental and psychological stress saw to another patch forming near my left temple. For half a year I ignored these, then finally gave in and saw a GP who gave me a fungal cream and a .1% hydrocortisone cream. Steroid prescription? Standard prescription.
I really wish that when doctors prescribe steroid creams they give more appropriate warnings about the possible side effects. From one doctor appointment it’s really easy for patients to keep the prescription and continue using it for years on end. It would have been very easy to continue rubbing this band-aid solution on my skin, thinking there were no long-term consequences.- luckily I was using my cream for maybe a month and tapered off when it didn’t seem to make my skin better.
When I stopped the patches immediately became more angry, more inflamed, and spread larger than the original size. Luckily all summer long during my holidays I wore very little make up, ate fresh, wholesome foods, had more exercise, plenty of sun and generally felt more relaxed away from all the London stressors. This seemed to have brought on many changes to my psoriasis, both changes in colour and texture.
It was only during this time that I found out about an entire community of people going through topical steroid withdrawal (thanks Reddit!) I felt terrible that I had kept using the creams past the two-week period, but also betrayed that doctors continue to prescribe these potentially harmful drugs for a disease that they deem “incurable” anyway. I felt relief that I didn’t use steroid creams to the extent of some cases reported in the community, but was concerned that it was long enough to damage my natural skin cycle.
Even though I can’t pinpoint what exactly I’m doing that is helping, I was happy to see more changes today when I woke up – the patch by my temple seems to have very small spots of regular skin colour coming back. I have heard some accounts of psoriasis patches healing from the center outward – almost looking like a halo – and I have my fingers crossed that this might be happening for me too.
From waking up at night feeling itchy and seeing red blotchy skin when I pass by mirrors, to dissecting every single thing I’m doing or eating and whether it’s an allergic reaction, to skepticism over which doctors would be able to help… Seeing a bit of normal skin is seeing hope after extended misery.
I wish I knew the answer to healing from this disease, whether it’s better stress management, or the no-poo method, or the blueberries I ate just yesterday… or none of those things? I can only hope this entry is proof that it is possible to get better, and to encourage myself (and anyone else reading this) to not to give up for the search for a cure.
On our way back to London after hiking Snowdon in Wales, we passed by the Lake District. It was as quaint and as beautiful as one would imagine from English novels.
Everyday started off with a full English breakfast from our B&B. These are probably the only breakfast sausages I would willingly eat again – Cumbrian sausages that have a distinct herb-y flavour and were something ridiculous like 90% meat.
Keswick was a cute little village with lots of shops, some homey pubs, and a welcoming market. The cottages were especially charming as they were built from this beautiful dark blue-green stone.
We didn’t do too much research for outdoor activities in the Lake District prior to arriving. Most English walks we’ve encountered have been quite tame, so we figured we would just rock up and see what’s nearby. We ended up kayaking on Windermere for a bit and found an easy fell called Cat Bells. Even near the summit we were greeted by sprinkles of sheep.
As we had just flown in from Vancouver, we knew that driving 5 hours nonstop from London to Llanberis with jetlag would be no fun. So we drove to Birmingham first, then drove the next half of the distance after a night’s sleep. The highways were comfortable and I was thankful for well-equipped rest stops every hour or so. It became more and more scenic as we drive closer to Wales. The mountains and stone fences (and sheep!) were a welcome change from the “industrial” Birmingham and motorways we were experiencing.
We arrived in Llanberis at our Airbnb, a cute little room in a gorgeous stone cottage hosted by a very outdoorsy Polish couple. The high street took all of 10 minutes to walk from beginning to end, sprinkled with plenty of climbing/hiking/other outdoor activity equipment. The local Spar supermarket was well-stocked, and we picked up some groceries for breakfast and our hike. We had the afternoon to spare so we took an hour or so to check out Dolbadarn castle.
In the evening we had a look at the available trails up and down Snowdon. After some research we loaded our GPS with the Pyg Track (moderate for the way up) and the Llanberis path (easy for the way down). The Snowdon trails have more than enough information on the trailhead plaques and would be difficult to get lost on. It was just a good idea to test out our GPS before taking it on our 9-day Haute Route hike in case it didn’t work.
Before heading to the hike I went into one of the local outdoor sporting goods stores to get a water reservoir. I couldn’t find a 3L one in Vancouver but luckily the local store had a decent Camelback one. We then went to the Subway in the Spar supermarket and got this amazing Eurocup promo deal… 2 footlongs, with crazy combos where we ended up with 4 drinks, 4 of cookies or chips for only €10. After packing all of that for our lunch, we headed to the bus stop for the 10AM bus which took us to the Pen-y-Pass Car Park where the Pyg/Miners Track trailhead was.
The hike was difficult at the start, probably because I haven’t hiked or been to the gym for the past year in London. It was quite steep as we gained elevation, and I was being extra careful of any wet rocks as I slipped the day before just walking around after the rain. After getting into the groove of hiking again we were rewarded with a beautiful view as we hiked along two big lakes. I was thankful to have gone with the Pyg Track (recommended by the boyfriend) as where the Miners Track joins the Pyg Track looked really difficult even though Miner’s Track was supposed to be easy.
The trail became more tricky and involved a tiny bit of scrambling as we continued in the mist, where it began to shower and all of the rocks on the path were wet. At this point I was questioning why giant rocks are used as steps for UK hiking trails, as it’s neither safer nor easier than gravel or dirt. The wind picked up quite a lot more at the top and felt almost like it could blow me over. A bit of vertigo kicked in when I couldn’t see much past the fog and mist. Soon after this the trail joins the Llanberis path and it was an easy (albeit low visibility) walk to the cafe and summit.
After the cold winds and mist, hot chocolate was a must! We ate our slightly mushed but tasty Subway subs and revelled in our accomplishment.
The Llanberis path down was a good choice for an easy descend, as we were rewarded with the view of the valley the entire way down.
After a delicious night’s sleep, we had a quick breakfast and I spent some time playing with Fifi, our hosts’ dog. We then packed our things and were on our way towards the Lake District.