October 26, 2017 / All Stories

The lessons I learned from psoriasis

Lindell struggled to control her psoriasis – until the day she picked a name out of a phone book.

Who had time to worry?

It started with a few flakes.

Lindell DeBoue didn’t think much about them, at first. Who had time to worry about a little dandruff when you were a newlywed, settling into a new life in a new state?

But as the flakes multiplied and became more noticeable, Lindell decided she should at least see a doctor. On her first visit to the dermatologist, he diagnosed her on the spot with psoriasis.

“I had never heard of psoriasis, but that’s what he said it was,” says Lindell, who was relieved to at least have a name for what was going on. After all, if it was that simple to diagnose, it was probably easy to treat; she left with a prescription for some topical ointments and the expectation that things would improve quickly.

They didn’t. So she went back to the dermatologist, who came up with a new plan of action that involved scalp injections and another ointment. “It wasn’t really working, but I didn’t know where else to go or what else to do,” Lindell says.

When she noticed a few small patches on her arms and inner thighs that resembled what was on her scalp, she knew it was time for a second opinion. Going off a referral from her gynecologist, she visited a new dermatologist. “He came into the room and just looked at my scalp, and told me to use some cream, and that was basically it. He didn’t part my hair or touch me at all… I didn’t feel good about it, so I never went back.”

Things went from bad to worse. Lindell developed another hard patch in her right ear, but didn’t think it had anything to do with her psoriasis. She went to an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist, who told her it was a hard piece of wax that needed to be taken out. “I just remember it being so painful,” she recalls. “I would grab his arm each time he tried to take this (supposed) piece of wax out my ear; I was in tears when he was doing it, but when it finally came out, I did feel better…. But then it grew back, so I realized it probably was related to the psoriasis.”

With active psoriasis now on her scalp, ear, inner thighs, arms and legs, Lindell was at a loss, looking everywhere for a solution. Then her hair began to fall out. She took a deep breath, bought a wig, and grabbed the phone book. “Those were the days you looked in the yellow pages. We didn’t have Google,” she says. “So I just turned to the D’s and found another dermatologist.”

The physician she randomly chose out of the phone book ended up being what Lindell calls “the right person … he was so warm, and really listened. I’ve been with him since 2004 and would never leave. I’m dreading the day he decides to retire,” she says.

These days, Lindell’s skin is clear, and her outlook is bright. She’s eager to help others manage life with psoriasis, and urges those who are struggling to become their own best advocates.

“Learn as much as you can about the disease, and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if something isn’t working,” she says. Lindell recommends visiting the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations website or, for those in the United States, the National Psoriasis Foundation website.

For more of what Lindell has to say about living with psoriasis, watch her video below.

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Dana Harville
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