Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm not a leper

My skin, especially on my head, constantly itches. Every time you see me, every time I tweet, every time I blog, know that my head is itching and I’m barely containing the urge to scratch it.

That may not sound too bad to you – and it’s not for a little while – but it’s a constant companion, every day, every hour, for four years now. It’s like Chinese Water Torture.

And that itching? Not only does it leave little white flakes everywhere I go, it portends of a far worse future. A future where my immune system will start attacking my cartilage in addition to my skin. Where I’m far more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes. Where any children I have will probably suffer the same fate.

What’s even worse? Despite the 7 MILLION AMERICANS who suffer from the same disease, nobody else seems to know about Psoriasis. Pay attention, I didn’t say cirrhosis. It’s not a skin disease, it’s an immune disease. You can’t catch it by swimming in the same water, breathing the same air, or touching us. In fact, if you weren’t born with it, it doesn’t affect you at all; which is part of the problem.

We’re tired of being treated like lepers. We’re tired of wearing pants and long sleeves in 97 degree weather to keep you from staring. We’re tired of paying too much money to try treatments that don’t work anyway and might give us cancer. We’re tired of our kids being bullied. We’re tired of being misdiagnosed by doctors who should know better. We’re tired of being kicked out of public pools, daycares, sports teams and even jobs. We’re tired of having to have a doctor’s note to prove we’re safe to be around.

The National Psoriasis Foundation not only funds research that will one day find a cure, they have fantastic educational and advocacy programs that make life easier for psoriasis sufferers. They are, quite frankly, the sole reason I have the courage to write this post, the guts to discuss my red scaly lesions with complete strangers.

Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in the Tampa Walk to Cure Psoriasis to raise both funds and awareness. Please, check out my personal walk page to read more. And if you can spare a few bucks, I’d appreciate your support.

I’d also like to thank the following people who have already donated in support of our team on the walk:

  • Donal

  • Jacob S

  • Aunt Susie

  • The Rands family

  • Jeff and Kim

  • The Trews

  • Tyler

  • The Humor Mill Orlando

  • Mike B

  • And several others I don’t know personally

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