Leigh Wisheart, 39, is a nurse from Glasgow who suffers from psoriasis
I’ve had chronic psoriasis since I was nine years old, I’m 39 now and over the years I’ve tried every treatment I could find to help my psoriasis, including spending up to two months in the hospital when I was a teenager and also in my 20’s as my psoriasis sores became infected.[quote]Until recently I had psoriasis over 70% of my body, now its only on my knees, my elbows and my bottom.[/quote]
Before retraining as a nurse I used to be an air hostess and it was awful as it’s a very image conscious job. I felt very insecure. Other girls I worked with would make comment about my skin and a few times I even heard passengers talking about how disgusting it was being served with someone with sores on their arms and hands. People often mistakenly think psoriasis is contagious. It’s not, but that doesn’t stop people’s prejudices.
When I wear clothes I am always completely covered up, from head to toe. Even now that my psoriasis is better, I am still in the habit of completely covering my skin so that no one can see it.[quote]The cold makes my psoriasis worse and so living in Scotland is hard work. My skin would often crack in the cold and sometimes my whole back would crack open.[/quote]
Obviously in the past my psoriasis has been a problem in relationships, especially as I used to have it in the most intimate areas. It actually ended up ruining one serious relationship I had as my boyfriend at the time found it hard to accept my skin and in the end I left as I didn’t want to be with someone who was not able to see pat my skin to the person that I am. From bitter past experience I now tell guys as soon as I meet them about my psoriasis as people react very differently to it.
I used to get really badly bullied at school about my psoriasis. Kids are very cruel about anyone who looks a bit different and my skin often looked really bad and other kids would call me names and I got excluded a lot.[quote]I have used every type of steroid cream to try and get rid of my psoriasis. I have even flown to the Dead Sea so soak in it to see if that helped. I have changed my diet, I don’t eat any pork or dairy products, which I think helps. I have been to herbalists. I tried UV light therapy too. I have tried everything.[/quote]
I found out about Oregon Grape Root products after reading an interview in a women’s magazine about a lady with terrible psoriasis like mine who had found it worked for her.
At first the Oregon treatment made my skin slightly worse and I almost stopped using it. But I carried on as I know from past experience that with psoriasis treatments sometimes things can get worse before they improve.[quote]However after four weeks I started to notice a huge improvement. I could hardly dare to believe my eyes when I looked at my skin in the mirror. After two months my skin was about 80% better. The improvement was, for me anyway, little short of miraculous. I didn’t recognise myself, my psoriasis was almost gone and my confidence was through the roof.[/quote]
With my new found confidence I re trained as a nurse. I think my experience with psoriasis is partly what inspired me, as I know what it is like to feel unwell and what it is like to have a chronic condition that never goes away. I feel as though my experience with psoriasis makes me better equipped to communicate and work with people who are in pain or who are recovering from illness.
This Christmas I am daring to hope that for the first time in my adult life I may dare to try wearing a party dress that isn’t a sack that covers me from head to foot. I’m cautious, I don’t think I will ever dare to wear a revealing dress, but I might venture into something above the knee and maybe with short sleeves, that will be a novelty for me.