Hi, I’m Simon from Essex. I work in accounts and outside of work I have a passion for food and drink. I live with my wife, Michala, and our cat, Bob. I have been married for 8 years and with Michala for just over ten so she has only ever known me with psoriasis. Something I like to stress for those who think psoriasis stops you having relationships. We have no children, just Bob who we’ve had for two years. Bob gets quite a few mentions on my blog, he is a cool cat and aids stress relief.
I have had psoriasis for about 15 years now, starting with a small patch on my leg, which my GP then put down to a fungal infection. My first major flare up was the result of the hot sun whilst on holiday reacting with the perfume added in the sun tan lotion I was using. The flare up, which I actually thought must be a reaction to the sun, resulted in psoriasis covering about 85% of my skin.
Years passed and I withdrew into a shell, enduring sleepless nights, anxiety and bouts of depression seemingly alone despite the help of a very good GP and periods of clear skin following light treatment. The crunch came one night when I seriously considered the only way out was to just give up on life. It was then I knew I had to talk. I find talking about my feelings very difficult though so the next best thing was to write my story, which I did as a one-off piece on a food blog I used to write.
The reaction from friends, family and people I didn’t even know was remarkable. Suddenly people knew what I was going through and understood, to a degree, what this disease was doing to me. It felt good to let it all out too, very therapeutic. Psoriasis took over my life from here in a different way. I was still very negative about it, I had at least found an avenue to let out the frustration and worries and this brought with it a connection to others with the condition and those that help us. I started to work with The Psoriasis Association and, in time, other organisations to help educate people and raise awareness.
Live your life, do not let psoriasis live it for you
The one-off piece evolved into a dedicated blog: My Skin and I. This started life as a rather depressing place where I talked about the dark side of psoriasis. I tried a few times to be more light hearted – something I could never sustain. This changed after my last course of light treatment last summer. Something clicked in my head and I saw psoriasis from a different angle: I have not accepted psoriasis into my life, I never will. What I have done is to see the difference talking about it can make, how many people out there are fighting with us and giving their support.
I want other patients to realise there is a life outside of psoriasis, that there are people who will help you and who understand. The scary thing about the web is that there is so much information out there and much of it not checked or verified. That’s why I believe in partnering with companies such as LEO Pharma – QualityCare™ will give you somewhere to go for reliable information in partnership with those with the condition, so you know there are people who really understand.
As part of QualityCare™ I will be talking a lot about food. A lot of my cooking is off the cuff and I have a lot of recipe books which are usually opened, read and closed – they do not sit by me in the kitchen as they are more for inspiration. Like your skin is personal to you, so is your taste. Just because there is a recipe for something, it doesn’t always mean it will be to your personal taste and just like not every treatment for psoriasis works for everyone. Along the way I hope to bring you a few ideas for food that will make you smile.
So what can you expect from me on here? I won’t be giving you any miracle diets or telling you what you should or shouldn’t eat. What I will try to show is that you are in control of your life so you should enjoy it. The motto I live by now is “Live your life, do not let psoriasis live it for you”.