Hi I am Di Ya, living with psoriasis for 17 years.
I have been diagnosed with Plaque Psoriasis in the Summer of 2003 and Nail Psoriasis in 2011.
My Skin Psoriasis in Remissions since 2015-2016, since then never flared like before, I was covered up to my face in 2004 after an in-hospital treatment.
Nail Psoriasis hasn’t responded to any treatment so far; it is still the same since the time my skin went in remission, not getting worst but not improving either, but that’s not to say It won’t get better, I just haven’t done my best in this battle yet…
I have tried so many things and been to so many places. It has been a colorful life journey which I am about to share with you. Most importantly, I am looking back to remind my self that I am lucky despite Psoriasis and grateful for everything.
Depression Triggers Illness
Growing up, I can’t remember getting sick, except one time I was hospitalized with chickenpox.
However, I had two problems; I remember feeling sleepy all the time and having constant constipation.
Summer of 2003, I was 21 years old, just returned from a job abroad, and had to go back with another contract; however, I failed the interview, and I got depressed, for more than a month I was a mess.
I was sleeping 16 hours a day, don’t remember drinking water, I eat one or two times a day, and my comfort food were two starchy vegetables, homemade potato fries and boiled seasonal fresh corn, that’s right, the danger foods.
One day I woke up and noticed a tiny red spot on my foot, it was like a pimple, a bit itchy, I ignored.
The next day it got bigger, and next day bigger again, it had white tip like a pustule, but it was dry, I didn’t think it was a big deal, I didn’t care enough even if it was.
Then after four days or so I noticed it had a bigger white coverage and that’s when I thought, maybe its an infection I need to do something about it.
So, I couldn’t care enough to go to a doctor, I just took alcohol and cleaned it up, then I did something silly, a vinegar compress, a “life hack” I heard from some old neighbour before for insect bites and infections, and next thing you know I burned the skin on that area.
I thought now it will heal and no more of whatever it was. Then, after a week or so, I woke to find out that I had tens of small pimples same as that one all over my upper leg.
Horrified, forgotten all about depression, I was now worried about my health.
Diagnosis with a Shock
I rushed to a Diagnostic Center took an appointment with a dermatologist. I entered the cabinet and saw a sweet-looking, old Russian lady Doctor. I would say she was friendly and kind from her tone of greeting, but, I don’t know how to describe her, maybe well-wishing but too straight forward, she didn’t spare me, I was about to faint while she was explaining what I had.
She just looked at my affected area, and said;
“Oh, congratulations, you got scaly lichen” wait, what?
She continued; “another name for it is Psoriasis, it has no cure! Yours is ok, I have patients coming in covered head to toe, so we need to prevent that, unfortunately, the climate here is not in your favour, 4 season means at least 4 seasonal flare-ups, and you have to live on a diet from now my dear.”
She looked at my terrified face “You will be fine, you are not the first and not last, you will learn to manage it, people live with it long and happy, don’t worry. I will give you the list of things to avoid”
As she continued writing notes in her journal she added, “if you were in a warm country with sea and sunshine all year round, you wouldn’t suffer as much as you will here”
I had so many questions yet I couldn’t open my mouth, couldn’t make a sound. All that before sending me to any test, just by looking at it, she was an expert in her field that’s for sure and expert in delivering a message in a way that might as well give you a heart attack.
All that with such a kind and soothing tone, and with care! Now I laugh about it, but that time I felt like someone lifted me off the ground, and I wasn’t there anymore, everything was spinning, and I couldn’t believe it was happening to me, what hit me so badly was the “it has no cure” part I guess.
After her, I went to the Institute of Dermatology, just to hear the same, so I decided to continue with my well-wishing, straightforward Russian doctor, whom I am glad I met as her words had a sign that made me take a big step forward later on.
Prescription with Care
After a couple of days, I went back to her for the test results. I was expecting long list of medicines but she prescribed only;
- Sinaflan cream
- Activated charcoal
She also gave me the list of foods to avoid, the list was smaller than the list you see online nowadays:
- Spicy Foods
- Fried Foods
- White Bread
- Processed foods
- Red Meat
- Raw onion and Garlic
Also told me to:
- Eat more fruits
- Drink more water
- Make sure to eat often but less to make sure I have good bile flow
- Avoid constipation
- Sleep average 9 hours, not more – not less.
That’s all it was. I guess I was expecting more serious medicaments and hospital stay etc. as it was a big deal for me, but she told me not to spend money on any fancy treatments as it was useless.
She was sincerely trying to help, but it made me wanna do exactly the opposite as I wasn’t ready to accept and give up.
I was positive there was a cure, and I would be back to normal again. So I started doing what she suggested but meantime searching for answers and looking for a hospital to get proper treatment.
By August same year, I picked the national hospital of dermatology, which was well known and I was positive and hopeful that this was going to work.
In addition to the test I brought them from my Russian doctor, they did additional tests, and it was apparent I had thyroid, liver and gastrointestinal complications with vitamin D and B deficiency.
I got so many injections, tablets, light therapy and used topicals everyday.
With no TV in the room and no smartphone, I was alone with my thoughts, and only time I go out would be to treatments or the cafeteria. The food they served was opposite of diets I follow now, rice and milk porridges, brown bread and pulses. (It wasn’t a hospital that specialized only in the treatment of psoriasis, and not everyone had the sensitivities psoriasis patients had, but still, I wonder if they do that nowadays)
Despite the unsuitable diet, I was still clearing up, except one morning I woke and I had flare-up all over again, and this time it was itchy. My mom used to bring me fruits, but the day before the flare-up happened she brought me a store-bought Orange juice in a tetra pack, I will never forget, the box said 100% Orange juice, I drunk it with confidence that It was healthy and all-natural, but that was the trigger. My doctor was not pleased that I added something without asking so he added cleansing enemas, that thought me a lesson, no more processed stuff.
Finally, by the end of three weeks treatment, I was all clean except my left elbow still had a small patch.
We Attract What We Fear
I was back home, my skin cleared up, but my mind wasn’t.
Scared and worried more that it would come back because everyone in that hospital said so, even doctors said so. Everything I did was calculated, every bite of food I eat, sleeping on time and eating on time and working out, but, just after a month I got flareups again, this time it was terrible.
I understood the true meaning of “We Attract What We Fear” I was fearful it might come back, so it did.
Fear causes stress and stress got me, and this time most of my body covered up to my face.
Even though I did eat right and worked out to digest what I eat, even that light food wasn’t doing any good, at least that’s what I thought was happening until I went back to my Russian Doctor.
She was positive that the medicaments were too heavy on my liver, also Winter was approaching and the cold season was the cause of flareup in addition to the stress.
Not sure if it was because she was right in her conclusion or because she made me focus on it, I started feeling discomfort and mild pain in my liver area, so, now I was on a mission to unload my liver naturally without conventional medication but vitamins, fresh and light foods and exercise. “Proper” Treatment did not work for me after all. It was depressing, costly and effect didn’t last long, but the negative impact of it did.
Search for Cure
I still had to do my own research, I read books and experimented a few home remedies.
Steam with Herbs:
We used to have Russian banya, (steam bath with a wood stove), it was outside the house. In cold and snowy winter days, I would run in and steam my self, almost every evening. I would apply different kinds of herbal pastes like isiriq (which is known as Peganum), camomile, aloe, and even honey onto my skin, after the bath, I would use natural oils to hydrate.
Did it help? Not really, I was hydrated but sore.
Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse:
Winter passed like a bad dream, in the Spring of 2004 a neighbour who was practising alternative medicine suggested a cleanse, that the first time I came to know about olive oil and lemon mix cleanse like the Andreas Moritz’s cleanse, but very bad version.
She was insisting it was good and would do no harm as it was only food items and what could have happened?
I agreed to do it.
It was a disaster. Before the cleanse we did enemas, then a full glass of lemon juice and a full glass of olive oil; you have to drink all, following morning I felt so sick, it got easier before noon, and I did pass so many bile stones, like hundreds of them, after the cleanse I felt lighter. Liver area discomfort was gone, but, I now had stomach pain, I believe lemon juice has something to do with or the laxative, whichever it was it was horrible.
It aggravated my psoriasis even more, and it took a couple of months for my stomach to stop paining. Lesson learned, no more extreme remedies.
By late Spring, my skin improved and was looking much better, was it because of the cleanse? Not sure, It was probably because of Warmer Season starting, but after cleanse, I stopped feeling discomfort in the liver area.
Remission with Climate Shift
Summer of 2004, I was offered a job opportunity in Dubai. I didn’t pay attention to it at first, but then the guy who was promoting it said, “why not, it’s a beautiful place with all year sunshine and sea!”
I remembered what the doctor said; “if you were in a warm country with sea and sunshine all year round, you wouldn’t suffer as much as you will here.”
I thought “this is it, this is a sign, everything happens for a reason, a good reason”. Now nothing could stop me from going for it, even the rumors about human trafficking.
New chapter begun, I moved, and I started working. When your focus shifts to something new and exciting, everything changes, psoriasis was fading, It was there but very mild flares and smaller patches, almost not noticeable, as I was busy working and meeting new people from all around the world, so I had others exciting things to focus on.
When someone noticed I would say, “Its just psoriasis” if they didn’t know I would say “its allergy don’t worry it’s not contagious” and carry on.
Few months passed, I remember we were in a supermarket with my best friend who also got the job and moved with me, she said ”your psoriasis is not visible anymore. I was ok, warm climate or change of lifestyle or maybe because I was active again with daily workouts at work, it worked, I went home and inspected all my body, there were no marks left. I was cleared.
Working with Psoriasis
Big and unexpected changes happened just after six months.
I was working in a hotel, one of the top five in the country, we were a team of over forty professional dancers and acrobats. Working hours were comfortable, rehearsals every day, and a couple of events. It was a dream job.
However, I changed positions later on, and shift changes were stressful to my body I guess although I didn’t realize at first. I lost balance and got psoriasis back. Not as bad as it was, before but bad enough to scare me and put me back on an elimination diet.
I knew what exactly triggered it again. With daytime work I had:
- Plenty of Sunlight
- Hours of Exercise
- Plenty of water
- Good night rest
And lateshift work was not easy:
- Didn’t see much sunlight except weekends, even on weekends I couldn’t get up in the morning
- There was no movement as I stopped working out, I was feeling tired all the time
- Was not feeling thirsty as much as in the day so I drank barely any water but mostly tea
- Hard to sleep in the daytime, my sleeping pattern was ruined.
And that schedule continued for more than two years; now I had a persistent spot on my elbow and couple more patches would come and go, each time it was slowly expanding, I was using Elocom cream and Scalp Lotion all the time. Most of the time, we know what we are doing wrong, we know what we should do to stay healthy, but things go out of control, and just like that, things went out of control. I had to leave, I started having liver pain and other health complications too, I had to rest, so I left home.
Hello Nail Psoriasis
Years went by, in 2009 I got married to my fiancé, then I got pregnant, my psoriasis returned, it was mild here and there, I couldn’t care less, I was happy. Then I got pregnant again, back to back, with the age difference of one year and eight months.
I guess my immune system was not ready, but my heart was, I was happier than ever. During second pregnancy in 2011, I noticed discolouration on my toenails, it only got worst but I didn’t have the time to focus on me, I was busy enjoying the motherhood.
Later I started my own business and got even busier, again no time to focus on my health until it was too late. Late because 2015 I had no choice but to shorten them, some were so short that I could say I had no nails.
I also had four fingernails affected, which were still looking ok with a good manicure. My skin was flaring more often, and at some point, I had those giant red patches all over my back and legs again, it was time to focus on my self and resume treatments.
Treatments and skin Psoriasis Remission by chance
Over the years I have tried so many things:
- UV Light Therapy
- Oxygen Therapy
- Liver and Gallbladder Flush with olive oil and lemon
- Mineral Water Therapy
- Ozone Therapy
- Salt Cave
- Colon Hydrotherapy
- Dead Sea Retreat
- Leach Therapy
Did they help? Yes, most of them did but for a certain period, some couple months, some half a year or more, however, my skin psoriasis went in remission after leech therapy.
I didn’t plan or did it because of psoriasis, and I did leeches because my mom insisted it would help with back pain which started after two epidurals. It would hurt in the mornings, and I couldn’t sit long at work, I would get up and stretch and walk around, it was pretty bad, I was even told that I now developed arthritis which tests proved wrong.
After the therapy, I felt instant relief on neck and shoulders, after a month I realized I didn’t have back pain anymore, and I was surprised, to see psoriasis fading. All the treatments were always accompanied by some type of diet and exercise, but with leech therapy, I didn’t follow any diet but eat like everyone else.
After a few months, there was no sign of psoriasis. I went home in winter the time I am supposed flare but, even then I didn’t have a flare-up. However, was no effect on nail psoriasis, my nails were the same as before, they stopped getting worse but they didn’t improve either. I love those leech doctors for gifting me such relief from skin Psoriasis.
Whatever Happens, Happens for Good
Psoriasis changes us, any illness does…
Through a shock, disappointment, sadness and pain – I see the world from a different angle, It changed my perspective on life… it made me tougher, independent, responsible and compassionate… made me realize nothing is granted in life even your skin you are living in…
By managing psoriasis we are also working on ourselves:
Eating healthier, lighter foods that heal our liver and possibly preventing other illnesses!
Exercising and getting in shape, becoming a better version of ourselves by force!