Psoriasis, if you don't know, is a skin ailment that's genetic in nature and that flares up under stress. It looks like red, raw skin with white scaly flakes, if for no other reason than it's red, raw skin with white scaly flakes. At the moment, it covers 40 percent of my body, including my legs, my arms, parts of my stomach, my scalp, my shoulders, my forehead, my generative organs and almost all my back, plus a few spots on my buttocks.
I've had it since I was 17, when it was a small patch on my back, the size of my quarter. It's gone up and down a few times, but has never gone away entirely. Each time it's flared up, it's come back worse.
A previous dermatologist had prescribed some topical steroids that worked like a charm and cleared up everything within about three weeks. Unfortunately, that was before I started working at The Pit, more commonly known as WCN, and it soon roared back to life.
The dermatologist I was referred to this time didn't want to do that. My psoriasis is extensive and topical steroids are steroids, after all, and coating more than half your body with steroids twice a day isn't something most doctors recommend for the long haul.
I get a whole booth to myself.
That is, it's natural if you consider it natural to stand naked in a chamber lined with bright lights while you wear nothing but a pair of devo sunglasses shaped like swimming goggles, and stand there holding a paper towel over your most personal anatomy.
The downside to all this is that my share of the office visits comes to $10 a visit, and I have to visit the dermatologist's office three times a week for about four months to make this all work, so we're talking about $500 in co-payments.
The upshot to that is that I'm also taking a second medical treatment that involves injecting myself every Monday and Thursday morning with a psoriasis-treatment drug. Since both treatments are FDA-approved, I'm getting a combination of treatments with a proven track record of success, for free.
I'm taking part in a study to see how much faster patients respond to the treatments when they're combined. So not only am I getting the doctors' visits (and the drug) for free, I'm getting paid about $800 to do it. It just keeps getting better.
The only part that really bites is that I have to inject myself, and I really hate needles.
Thank God I'm not diabetic. I can't imagine injecting myself with insulin three times a day.