By Krista Kellogg
When you live with a chronic disease like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, you become intimately acquainted with the concept of trial and error. From the everyday accommodations we must make for ourselves to the very medications and treatments that are prescribed to us in an effort to mitigate the effects of our disease.
Because for many of us there is no cure and because there are a rainbow of variations of disease conditions, there is no panacea. While we can find comfort and relief from time to time, many of us are always anticipating the inevitable: the day the meds stop working or we stop taking them for one reason or another. For me, the number one reason I stop taking a medication is because it has no effect on my psoriasis. The number two, and far more frustrating reason, is because of negative side effects.
My journey with psoriasis has led me down the road of failed treatment many times. Sometimes the experience is dramatic, like the time a had an acute reaction to a biologic drug that left me covered in hives and gasping for breath or most recently, when I realized that the super potent topical steroids that I have been using (successfully) were also causing crushing headaches. Because the steroids nearly cleared my feet (a minor miracle for someone like me), I convinced myself that they were simply tension headaches brought on by the stress of a new job. Four weeks after weaning myself off the steroids, I am headache free… and my feet are once again a disastrous collection of cuts, cracks, and flakes. Such is the dance with palmar-plantar psoriasis; such is the dance of a living with a chronic disease. It is easy to lose hope.
Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Coping with a chronic disease and the seemingly never-ending rollercoaster of failed treatment after failed treatment flies in the face of this genius observation. In fact, in order to cope with and live fully despite chronic disease, I think to a certain extent, it is necessary to live in denial of this logic. There is a deep and roiling sadness living and breathing inside of me about my disease. The chronic pain weighs me down like an anchor sometimes, tempting me to give up, laughing at my efforts to treat and control. For me, the only way to move on to the next experiment is to forgive and forget. I must forgive my body for betraying me and try to forget that it always will… try fitting that on the side of a pill bottle.
Krista Kellogg was elected to the National Psoriasis Foundation Board of Trustees in 2006 and currently holds the position of chair-elect. She was elected to the National Psoriasis Foundation Board of Trustees in 2006. She is chair of the Board Governance Committee and a member of the Development, Finance and Outreach Committees. She also served as chair of the 2011 National Volunteer Leadership Conference. Krista has palmar-plantar psoriasis. She lives in Miami, Florida, where she is the Senior Marketing Manager at Akerman Senterfitt.