I started my phototherapy treatment last week. Really I should’ve been on it in February, when the dermatologist first recommended it, but I was stubborn and wanted to heal myself ‘naturally’ through diet. Well – at my last checkup when I was despairingly flailing around my psoriasis graph to him “BUT IT’S GETTING WORSE AND NEW SPOTS ARE APPEARING FASTER I HAVEN’T BEEN DRINKING WHY ISN’T IT GOING AWAY HELP ME”, he looked at me with exasperation and told me “just go to zees and you’ll be bettah in no time.” (he’s French)
I got the sense that he simultaneously wanted to pat me on the head for being dumb and backhand me for being dumb.
Well, anyways the important thing is that now I’m doing phototherapy.
Warning: this post has no purpose aside from rambling about my skin:
I still strongly believe (as backed by anecdotal evidence) that diet plays a BIG part in psoriasis inflammation. I can see the effects if I eat too much sugar – my patches (which may have been previously calm, pale, and flat) all of a sudden become itchy and bright red. When I went to my girlfriend’s birthday party and had 5 Tom Collins, I flared for a whole week.
But aside from all that, cutting out all drinks and food doesn’t STOP the disease. I still get new spots regularly. I still will get flares (less often, but they’re there). The books I’ve read that recommend natural healing say it takes 4-6 months to see long term results this way – but I’m impatient, I don’t want to wait that long. 2-3 months was enough for me. Science will save me.
In order to complete this round of treatment, I need to go 3x a week to phototherapy for approximately 16 weeks. I was told I would start seeing results around the 20th treatment, with hopefully full clearance after 40 treatments. After the 4 months, I may need 1x a week maintenance in order to keep my skin clear.
The time investment is pretty significant. The clinic is only open M-F, 7:00am-6:30pm on a drop-in schedule. Before and after work are peak hours and the wait time is up to 40mins. I’m trying to go during my lunch hour as much as I can when the wait-time is around 15 minutes.
The actual treatment involves standing completely naked in this huge metal contraception. It looks like a vertical tanning bed from the 1980s. The inside is completely lined with huge lightbulbs. You go inside, close the doors and feel like you will die, and then the lights switch on for the treatment. It’s painless as long as you’re not claustrophobic.
I’m still super neurotic about how my skin looks. Last weekend it got up to 27 degrees and I went for a walk in shorts and a t-shirt. I felt really self-conscious the whole time because my legs were flaring. I was sure that everyone would stare at me with a look of disgust. Nobody cared. Nobody stared. I should stop being so self-centered.
Funny enough, the people who stare the most are the other patients at the phototherapy clinic. Every time I walk in all their heads turn and assess my skin. I suppose it’s due to scientific curiosity rather than judgement. They all want to see how severe my case is and whether I’m responding well to the treatment. (I, too, steal glances at the other patients when they’re not looking in my direction to look for old psoriatic patches – but I’m not rude about it OLD ASIAN MAN)
By the way the photo was taken in March. I didn’t upload it because I thought my legs looked super gross but they’re way worse now. LOLOLOL I’d love to get back the clear skin in that photo. Life is so relative. (Sorry for making you stare at my crotch.)