The pain of psoriasis is physical and emotional. Since the age of five, Diane Talbert has battled the autoimmune disease and the stigma that comes along with it. Below the self-proclaimed “Psoriasis Champion” shares her story with BlackDoctor.org and how she’s advocating for more research with people of color.
I’ve had psoriasis for more than 50 years and psoriatic arthritis for 20 years or so, but was not diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis until 10 years ago. I knew something was wrong when my fingers were always stiff and I was always in some sort of pain. I had what I called sausage fingers – extreme swelling in the fingers, toes and nail pitting. Anyone who has psoriatic arthritis knows it’s not always the easiest getting diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, as it is with other types of arthritis.
After much twisting and turning, my diagnosis was made by reviewing my medical history (process of elimination with the fact that I have had psoriasis my whole life). A physical examination was done, blood tests were conducted, and X-rays of the joints that had symptoms were what helped to determine it was indeed psoriatic arthritis. I was put on a treatment called biologics.
We go back to 1963, as a small child eagerly entering my first day of school. I remember being prohibited from attending class due to the teacher fearing my condition was contagious. My day wasn’t off to the carpet for story time with the other children. Instead I was sent to the hospital, while doctors struggled to figure out what was on my whole body.
From the age of five, my head was shaved and I was quarantined for three months with 90 percent of my body covered in unsightly scales and painful days to years of misdiagnoses and in turn medical mistreatments.