Turning a Corner with a soundtrack of wellness and persistence

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Dragon in the Forest Lakes – June Perkins

For those of you following my wellness quest with the psoriasis I am pleased to report that the first two weeks of working with fixing my diet, exercising more, taking vitamin D and zinc, and daily using a cleanser and ointment, has led to a dramatic improvement.

The redness has dramatically decreased in area and disappears for more of the day, the plaques have been thinned – and I am sleeping better due to all of this.  The extra sleep is helping. The feeling that psoriasis will continue unabated has eased, so my mind is so much calmer and clearer. I am definitely coaxing the monster to sleep step by step. Take that psoriasis!

I still want to exercise more, but have been pleased to be upping the levels more each time despite the humid days and thunder storms, but I’ve done exercise biking and stretching indoors and walking before the storms arrive.  I’ve combined my exercise with my great love of photography to  keep motivated. My dear husband took us to a great lake to walk around. It was a good walk which resulted in many fun photographs – including one of a dragon water feature pictured above.

Giving up some of the foods that are potential triggers,especially favourite foods like strawberries, hasn’t been too hard because the thought of going back to where I was a few weeks ago is a strong motivator.  I’ve been to a number of events where there is lots of sugar in the food and just had a glass of water and fruit (that I am allowed to eat).  I was really proud of myself for that.  I’ve become aware of how many times sugar is around me.  I am definitely partly what I eat, and the better I eat the better I feel.

I look at stress and think more  proactively about calming and centering myself. I do tend to worry about things.  Where does this worry come from?  Perhaps it is from experiences of the past.  This worry can be a great motivator (it’s what makes me write, strive to be a good parent, and look for work or making work), but on the other hand it can keep me up late at night thinking about how to save the world and worrying about things I have no control over.  The spanner in the works this week was receiving a letter that now we have to move house.  This was disappointing because we have only been in this rental house for a year and hoped to be here until we could save enough to buy a house.

I hate packing to move because we have had to do it so often (on average every two years) and because it takes a while to unpack and set up everything the way you like it, but of course moving always has its positives.  My challenge is to look for them.  Maybe we can find a slightly bigger house so we’re not so crammed in. Maybe we will have friendlier neighbours who’d appreciate knowing us etc. etc. I am breaking down that move step by step and don’t want it to become a monster that wakes up my psoriasis more.  It does have the potential to do that, but bring on my music sound track!

I have a sound track of music I like to listen to in my room to assist with this process. For me personally this includes Troy Casser Daley, Karise Eden,  Alesa Lajana, Lady Antebellum, and Mumford and Songs. I use some of this sound track to help me when it’s time to sleep rather than watching late night television. I keep looking for other music to add to this list of artists.

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Ripples in the Lake – June Perkins

Writing is and has always been something that assists me with combating psoriasis. I continue to write poetry, especially about characters that are intent on coming to terms with something, like drought, or loss – in a way that is uplifting.  Journaling this process is yet another part of the journey to wellness.

Steps to Wellness with Psoriasis
1- Work on diet avoiding known food triggers of psoriasis
2- Take appropriate vitamins
3- Use daily cleanser exactly as instructed and avoid all soaps
4- Exercise
5- Use calming power of music
6- Journal Progress to reflect on what is going well and what could go better
7- Write poetry and a optimistic journal
8- Address anxieties and stresses in life with optimism and positive actions.

There are more steps in this journey.   I often wonder will anyone ever find a cure for psoriasis?  Maybe, maybe not, but I think in the meantime improving diet and general health can make it easier to cope with.  The most important step has been to ‘hope’ again for enough wellness to fully embrace living a full life.

(c) June Perkins

More than my Skin

I don’t often blog on health but I want to share some posts over the next year or so on my journey to bring my psoriasis under control.

Since my mid twenties I have been having an ongoing battle with it.  I have seen so many pictures of people with it far worse, and others with it less severely.  As I scroll through the images my heart is moved by knowing just how it feels to have your skin seem to have a mind of its own.  I particularly feel for children and teenagers.  I  feel blessed I did not have it until later and was lucky enough to have some inner strength for what lay ahead.

It began with one small patch on my left arm and a move away from my childhood home in Tasmania. Since then it has moved in waves both receding and moving forward, and attacked my scalp, side of my face, arms, back, knees, other areas, and legs. Lately it has even been making a journey into the joints.

I have been mainly to doctors and skin specialists about it, but also had some trips to the nutritionist and psychologists. Some have been compassionate and caring, and some have been people you wouldn’t go back to after one appointment.

In that journey I have had light treatment, oral medications, injections (3 different types), as well as a regimen of gels and other creams.  I’ve had so many reccomended products and have moved away from using soaps.  I’ve had occassional advice from naturopaths on things that I can take to strengthen the skin.

After a three year journey with biological medications, cyclone interrupted at various points and also changed when little response, I’m determined to have a break for the injections and make a more dedicated journey down the path of lifestyle management and to truly understand what triggers flare ups and what lessens the wave.

One thing I noticed before the current flare up is that I have put on far too much weight.  I am determined, once and for all, to do the work to get this off.  One problem is that having psoriasis can make you very conscious of how your skin looks, and want to hide it.  Wearing too much to exercise doesn’t encourage you to do it.  A vicious cycle can then get underway.  Another thing I have noticed that moving constantly for work and study has had a toll on my physical health and some climates, and water supplies, have not been much help.  We are staying put for a while.  I am trying to make a list of things that make it worse and better.

I’m determined to reclaim my life back after this chronic disease decided to give me a year of physical hell.

I want to take a wholistic approach to psoraisis and truly understand this test I have been given.  Encouraged by a friend who has it as well, and has gotten on top of it, I am taking time out from my past approaches.

Yes, I have to take my own journey, but stories of success from real people – not advertising subjects quoted on sites that may or may not be real – gives me much more confidence to have a go at something new.

Today’s affirmation is –

I am more than the skin I am in.  I am the person within.

I will strive to change all that I can to keep this condition at bay.

I will not be concerned with how others who don’t understand offer well meaning suggestions.

I will be inspired by those who have found a way forward and willing to try what they have with an open heart.

I will explain to those who think they understand and tell them to read this blog,

‘I am on a journey to find out what works best for me.’

I will not give up, but persevere and believe I can bring this more under control.

Thanks so much for listening.

Next week I visit a health clinic. . .   Today I take an afternoon walk in the cool of the evening.

(c) June Perkins

 

PS  I promise to keep up the poetry, photography, writing posts and keep this condition in perspective.  I am hoping that by sharing the blog of the health journey for others with this condition, or with family members with it, that they might feel  less alone.  I am making a journey with them.

Like it or Not: Golden Brown Skin and Frizzy Hair

Thinking about this months ABC Open 500 words theme  Like it or Not  inspired me to write this prose poem.

I wonder what contributors are going to make of this month’s theme.   I look forward to reading their stories.

Looking to the New Year
Portrait – Taken by My Daughter

 

I was born golden brown with
hair thick and frizzy.
I used to think these were things to overcome.

I’d do everything to hide my curly hair
put it under bandanas and scarves
comb it a hundred times to try and make it straight
cut it, pull it out, twist it into ringlets,
ringlets are better than frizz, aren’t they?
pray somehow I’d wake up and it would be straight and easy to brush.

As for my skin, I didn’t change it, but sometimes it felt a burden.
Some people said, ‘You are so lucky you don’t need to tan.’
‘You have to work harder at school people will judge you by it,’ said my Dad who had seen so much prejudice and wanted to protect me.
I learnt that some people judge you by the colour of your skin & some don’t.
They accept you for who you are.
I learnt about ‘internal colonisation’
& read The Colour Purple.

A mother of a friend combed my frizzy hair.
She said ‘it’s so beautiful.’
I never forgot what she said.
It had more power than any unkindness after that.

Here I am now,
my skin has psoriasis
& it’s not just golden brown but full of pink patches that itch.

I have no control,
try everything to get rid of it
& people tell me everything they’ve heard to get rid of it
I listen patiently
I’ve heard it all before
but nothing cures it,
I wish it would.

I keep trying,
live in hope of managing it better,
have learnt detachment gives strength.

My hair is curly still,
it has white strands wound through dark curls.

I smile, laugh, write
nurture, dream,
no matter what my hair or skin are doing,
or changing into.

I have learnt I am not the sum of my external being
but a collection of experiences, moulding me into
me.

My obstacles were a way of thinking
& that I can control.

(c) June Perkins

For more information on psoriasis