I was diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 18. I just started my life as a university student.
It started with a small patch on my scalp and I thought it was dandruff. I was told by a skin specialist that it was a fungus infection. It irritated my skin, but I did not think much of it.
Six months later, my thumbs, knees and ankles started to swell up. I had no idea that it was connected to my psoriasis condition. It got so bad that I had trouble walking, especially when I am going up and down the stairs.
I felt so hopeless. I thought I was going to lose my mobility.
I vividly remember having to crawl up the stairs this one day, because the pain was so bad. I became so worried that I asked my dad to take me to the hospital. That was when I found out that I have psoriasis.
Around 70% of my scalp was covered with psoriasis patches. At that time, I could barely walk anymore, and my hair had started to fall. I thought my life was over, and I would never be ‘normal’ again.
It has always been a dream of mine to become a dentist and my condition almost hindered me from achieving my dreams. Due to the bad flare-ups I was experiencing at that time, I had to stop going for classes at university.
This made me very upset as the thought of having to give up my dreams to be a dentist really broke my heart.
My parents encouraged me to try different types of alternative treatments, but nothing worked. It only got worse and started to spread to the rest of my body including my private parts. It was so painful that whenever I used the toilet, I would just sit there for hours, crying.
It took quite some time for my condition to improve. After eight months of treatment, I eventually went back to university to complete my studies.
I have been practicing dentistry for the past three years now. I love my job, but it can get very challenging when my arthritis flares up. It affects my hands, wrists, and fingers, which makes it difficult for me to conduct procedures like tooth extractions. It affects my toes and ankles as well so I am unable to stand on my feet for long.
I do not like to use psoriasis as an excuse at work. But at times, when I am going through a very bad flare-up, it hinders me from performing my duties as a dentist. When it happens, I’ll inform my colleagues and they will help me. Luckily, I have a team of colleagues that are very kind and understanding towards my condition, and I’m really grateful for that.
I am fortunate to be blessed by an amazing family as well. My parents have been taking such good care of me since the beginning. My mother would always take the effort to prepare healthy meals for me. She would often prepare hot water for me to soak my feet and massage my joints just to ease my pain.
My husband is also very supportive. We have not been married for long – less than a year – but he has been my rock. He’s accompanies me to my doctor’s appointments, ensures that I take my medication on time, and even helps me apply ointment on my scalp. He is very understanding and does not feel uncomfortable with my condition.
As painful and challenging as life has been, it really gave me the opportunity to really be grateful to those around me. I realized that I am surrounded by people who care deeply about my well-being, and want me to be healthy, happy, and strong. I am really thankful that these people came into my life and accepted me for who I am.