Flew to Brisbane for the holidays to spend time with the boyfriend’s family, managed to see a good amount of wildlife considering I was only mobile within a 10km radius the whole time I was there.

Checked off from my Aussie wildlife list are as follows:

  • An Australian bushturkey (as pictured above)
  • A kangaroo (it ran across the road at 1am in Rochedale)
  • A goana (which looked super bad ass like it gave zero f*cks walking between people’s picnic tables like it owned the place)
  • An Australian water dragon (not as bad ass, but has a cool name)
  • A buttload of spiders, big ones
  • A select few topical birds, ALL ANNOYING, as they make caw-caw and coo-coo-ing noises strictly between 4am and 7am (note to self: don’t move to Brisbane)

Not bad for 6 days away, I must say. Although truth be told, my real goal was to see a wild koala sitting in a gum tree munching on some eucalyptus leaves. One day I’ll get to see one… One day.

The holidays were nice, although a little bit less festive than I’m used to back in Vancouver. It’s a different vibe to have pine trees, turkey dinners and mulled wine in comparison to a palm trees, beer and barbecue. Having said that, I am still really glad to have attended my first Australian barbecue – and made sure that the host announced that he was indeed, throwing the shrimp on the barbie when he did.

There were also two nights of unexpected mahjong with family and friends – with polarising outcomes – which means I still have a long ways to go in my gambling career. Just kidding. Not kidding. Anyway I’m ready for Chinese New Year now.

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind, and now I find myself living and working in Australia. I haven’t quite formed an opinion of how I feel about this, as my headspace just doesn’t have the capacity to do so. A lot of my time is spent checking off to do lists to set up an apartment, or trying to figure out the best way to run the research project I’m working on. And what time is left over is for sleep.

But hey, real beaches!

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.