I have heard about genetics for as long as I can remember. When I go to my doctor, the first thing they ask me about is my family’s history. They want to know who in my family has had heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol, mental illness or any other illness.

I was often puzzled by my diagnosis of psoriasis because there’s no one else in my family that has it. All my doctors say that this disease is genetic and it occurs more commonly in people who have a relative with the disease. I was told that there is a gene mutation that is passed down from one generation to another. I have researched several generations of my family and found that no one has had psoriasis; so I am always asking myself, how did it get passed down to me? I often wonder, how did this happen to me? I didn’t sign up for this.

Doing more research I started to wonder if my environment or background could have triggered my psoriasis? I grew up on a farm around animals, did I catch something from them or was it something I ate?  Did a playmate give it to me? What was it at the age of 5 that caused me to go to sleep one night and wake up the next day covered in scales?

The other question that comes to mind is, why didn’t my two sisters get this disease? Why didn’t my mother and father have it or my grandparents? Why doesn’t anyone in my family have it?

They say that knowledge is power. This has set me on a quest to be proactive in research for a cure for this disease. I have 4 grandchildren, who don’t have psoriasis; but will my genes be passed from me to them?

It is like a calling has been placed upon my heart so that I  can educate myself about this disease and then educate others. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause the skin to itch, burn, and develop thick scaly plaques that can be very painful. Over the past year, I developed psoriatic arthritis that has become very painful. I have had to start taking pain pills along with my regular medication to help me. I know that left untreated, this disease can be very miserable.

Over the years I have added in some exercise to help me cope with stiffness in my joints. Exercise has been very important to me in my overall health and keeping my joints flexible. I find that doing some walking is a great way to keep the muscles and joints from stiffening up. I actually tried relaxing in the water, which seems to be a great way to make the skin feel better.

Now back to what I don’t know; where did I get this disease from? Maybe it goes back 4 or 5 generations and someone had it, but didn’t know what it was. Although I didn’t sign up for this disease, I can confidently say, it has made me the person that I am today. I see people from the inside first. I’m a better person because of it. I try to take care of myself, eat right, exercise and get proper rest.

At the end of the day, no matter whether it’s genetics or just bad luck, I do know that I am here to advocate and educate others about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I’m going to fight for others who can’t fight for themselves by being an active advocate for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and by speaking up and out about these diseases.