Alka Dhupkar has Psoriasis, a type of skin disease. Severe skin rashes all over her face and body did not stop her from living her life fiercely. Read her inspiring journey of overcoming obstacles and becoming a popular news anchor at a TV channel.
I know many of you (who are suffering from different types of Psoriasis) are interested to know about my fight with this unique psycho-somatic skin disease. But firstly, let me introduce myself. I am a 32-year-old, healthy, active and passionately working journalist. I am associated with the electronic media industry, working as a Broadcast News Anchor.
I host talk shows and report on various issues of concern. And currently, I am affixed to this very interesting role of News Manager at desk. I do so many things! So, this skin disease could not stop me from becoming a successful Journalist. (TV News Channel + Print Media) Then why am I writing this piece? You all will wonder what the ‘news point’ in this piece is? So basically let me confess: there is NO News in this write up.
I am writing this to share bits of my sufferings – I think sharing would help ALL Psoriasis patients; young and old, to come to terms with the disease. It will answer the question which arises in every patient’s mind who suffers from Psoriasis – ‘Why Me?’, ‘Why am I Suffering from Psoriasis?’
We have to go through this feeling. Psoriasis is not hereditary. Neither is it contagious. It is our mind and eyes which are stuck in the rashes. We should relax our mind and body and take this disease head on! We should face the reality. We should follow medication and meditation!
Depression, stress, mood swings, uncontrolled anger, anxiety, impatient behavior, irregular diet and medicines would only increase the rashes on your body. Let us unite and share our feelings, plight, guilt and pain instead of suppressing and hiding this disease.
When I was a school-going girl aged 13, I had noticed some big, ball-type rash on my body. Eventually, it took control of my whole body from hair to nail. In the last 21 years, I have consulted more than 9-10 doctors -from Allopathy to Homeopathy and Naturopathy via Ayurveda!
When I witnessed my skin falling down in pieces; I felt so sad. I cried hundreds of times. When I saw layers of my skin swollen, I became depressed. When I saw dark spots on my skin, tension started building up naturally. When I stood up from my chair and flakes of skin akin to dandruff used to fall down on my shoulders, it irritated me. I felt like vanishing from the office place!
I had even faced bleeding problems from Psoriatic skin. I overcame it with good medicines. I faced psoriatic arthritic problem too in my left leg. It never stopped me from trekking to the top of the Sahyadri and breathing in the open fresh air…looking at the sky and taking rain showers on my body!
Skin is an important organ of our body. When it has a major visible disease, of course every known and unknown person will curiously ask about the treatment, causes and so many other things. I know they do not intend to hurt the patient, but let me confess – it hurts a lot!
Subconsciously, we start recalling our own story again and again. Reactions which are full of pity and sympathy are downloaded in our mind (without knowing the cost!)
To deal with my depression, one of the doctors had advised me to not look in the mirror more than once in a day. Instead of being tense, take medicines on time and have a good exercise regime. Be happy and have healthy food every day! I had undergone a small treatment for digestion problem which many of my friends of the psoriasis community are undergoing.
I put a lot of oil on my head everyday. I drink hot water. I eat at least one fruit. I try to give fresh oxygen and the morning sunrise heat to my skin. I started spending 20 minutes in meditation. I have decided not to eat junk food every day. (I could not skip it permanently!)
One time, I had severe psoriatic skin rashes all over my face, cheeks, neck, ears, nose, behind my ears, forehead, legs, hands…. every where. But that gentleman’s advice still helped me. Also, I was constantly asked by many so-called concerned folks, ‘who will marry a girl who has such a severe skin problem?’
Initially, I thought about this. But, once I started taking an interest in reading and studying, this question has never popped-up in my mind till date. (This was the myth-based fear of my well wishers! I understood later on in my cherishing day!)
Unwanted solicited advices are available in wholesale with heavy discounts. Free! Free! Free! on every problem you share. Such advices won’t make your dry skin comfortable. Remember this and stop downloading such advices and uploading your Psoriatic problems.
A rheumatologist, a dermatologist or a very learned Yoga teacher can help solve our problem. Many people have diabetes, heart-liver-kidney problems. Heart disease is internal, and therefore not visible. But skin is a visible organ. So, our disease is visibly noticed by every one (whether you like it or not) – this is the only difference between others and us.
Don’t stretch it too much. No one is immortal. Everybody has to make the journey of death; no matter how big that personality is. So, why should we stop ourselves from living and hide in the shadow of Psoriasis? Why should we stop wearing good looking, favorite, sleeveless dresses? Mini skirts? Why care about those who are staring at my body and judging me with my skin color and disease?
These days LOOKS are so important. ‘Good looking’ is a new phrase which is commonly used to describe beauty. I don’t understand how one distinguishes between ‘good-looking’ and ‘not so good-looking’. Looks are saapeksh! (subjective) They do not depend upon your skin. They depend on how you carry yourself – with pain or with confidence.
When I used to think only about my skin disease, I was sad. But, when I convinced myself that this disease is a very minor part of my life, and that I have to explore the whole world, I started enjoying my life and my work with a new zest. I don’t get upset if anyone points out at my skin spots and asks me “what is this?” I smile and say “I have a skin disease called Psoriasis”, that’s it.
In my teenage days, I used to have long hair which I had to cut for medication like ‘Takradhara’. I cried at the time. But, now I carry a fashionable hair cut as a style! I have no regrets anymore. I had severe spots and vertical blows on my skin; but after regular medicines I have very few spots on my body. At that time, I could not walk because I had so many spots on my feet, but I took good care of it with regular oil massage and by wearing socks. And now, I can tip toe into the newsroom studio wearing high heels and can walk fiercely into any mud side reporting fields.
I don’t allow any comments on my disease to pass unnoticed. If I hear any, I acknowledge it immediately with a big smile on my face. I have so many good friends, those who inspire me, take care of me and just be with me whenever required. There are so many people on this earth who are really not bothered about how my skin problem has damaged my looks and are truly interested in the work I do! My sweetest mother, father, sisters and brothers, everyone stood by me; in the initial 10 years of my severe Psoriasis.
Many a times, I thought I was the lonely and only patient of such a skin disease. But when I met younger people, older people, women and girls having much more severe Psoriasis than mine, I realized that this is a lifestyle disease and not a result of my bad luck! I continued to explore my destiny in journalism.
You can log in to your Facebook account and search for Psoriasis patient’s organizations in developed countries. Why are we, then, hesitant in sharing our experiences? Let’s start a fresh life with a big smile. Psoriasis is a part of my life it and it will go with me! The moment you accept it, you will forget that you are a “Patient”.
– Alka Dhupkar
If you want to get in touch with Alka, contact her at- [email protected]