Mothering a child with Psoriasis

The unconditional love of a parent is tested in my next article.  Many people with good health take it for granted.  We see this time and time again.  It’s unnerving to hear about young adults abusing alcohol or drugs.  If they only knew about the people who struggle each day with illnesses.  Maybe those young adults would make better choices.  Good health is a gift that should be appreciated.  I remember as an adolescent we had a tv commercial that ran explaining, “This is your brain, This is your brain on drugs.”  They showed a frying pan with two sunny side up eggs being cooked.  The message was clear and concise.   As a parent, you hope your children stear clear of drugs and alcohol and take care of themselves. The challenges of being a parent are tested each and every day until your very last breath.

How about when you’re a parent of a child that has a chronic illness like psoriasis?  This inspiring young mom’s daughter developed our disease at a very young age.  I’m sure most of us that are living with this disease can relate with others who have the disease,  but how about a parent? I know personally one of the reasons why I raise awareness is the fear that my children might some day be diagnosed with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.  This is my greatest motivation to help the National Psoriasis Foundation find a cure.  My next guest explains her unwavering love for her daughter with psoriasis and her quest to clear her.

Roberta Bellatreccia is from Italy and this is her story in her own words.  She is a member of our support group Overcoming Psoriasis :

“Hi Todd, these are my 3 paragraphes.
Maybe my English is a bit rusty.

If I had to describe the relationship I have with my daughter’s psoriasis in 3 paragraphes, I would entitle them: awareness, “debut”, friendship.

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AWARENESS
My daughter was diagnosed psoriasis at the age of 8. When she was 10 her skin was 100% covered, she lived many months of her life like an amphibious, hours in the bathtub with oil and warm water to have relief from the itch. In that period I often used to give her liquid food to avoid her cheek skin to rip while chewing solid food. I read so many documents, checked so many links, spoke to so many doctors, observed so many forums. In the meanwhile I washed so many blankets, hoovered so many floor square meters, changed so many pillowcases, sang so many sweet songs in the night, told so many funny stories, massaged so many harmful centimetres of a red itchy/scaly/loved skin, created so many new games and stories with dolls, food, plasticine, colours. An entire summer, an entire autumn and half of a winter together with my little, curly, frightened, wild ten years fighter. And during the following years, during her hard periods, my daughter’s behaviour “taught me” how to behave, what to say and, sometimes, when to keep in silence.
Our entire family “has got psoriasis”.
My daughter, my son, my husband, our dog. And me. The entire family has the strength to face it.
“Ohana”, as Lilo said! (Cit. “Lilo and Stitch”)

DEBUT
I sai my daughter was wild, to my eyes, because in spite of her skin, she never renounced to have a walk, or to go shopping looking for wooden or metal materials for her lovely creations, to have an ice cream or to buy food to cook with her family. Every exit was a “debut”: She had all the eyes on her skin. But sometimes they were “magic” eyes. Once, in a supermarket, a security guard stopped us. I was ready to arguments but this very big man knelt down to my daughter face, touched her arms, and asked her: “It is psoriasis, isn’t it? Can you see how big and handsome I am now? When I was your age my skin was like yours today. Never forget you are lovely, and you will be a gorgeous woman, and if anybody bothers you here, please, call me, today I’ll bee your body guard.”.
So many years ago, and I still cry when I tell or write this episode.

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FRIENDSHIP
I certainly know I can’t defeat psoriasis. But I certainly can improve my daughter’s quality of life. We met some horrible people, but we met soooooo many lovely human beings, We have now some good friends among doctors, but also among people who supported Camilla during her quarrel with her skin. I said “quarrel”, because it is the term she used once to describe her psoriasis. Once, when she was 10, I asked her how she could describe her psoriasis. She said: “To me psoriasis is like Daniele (her lovely, sometimes/spiteful brother): we quarrel, we fight, but he is not at all always the winner. I sometimes win. I know he is my family, I can manage it.”.
Today my daughter is a lovely, 18 years old woman.
She still fights with psoriasis, and sometimes she feels she is winning.
To me, she wins every day.
Her problem has become her resource”.

Thank you Roberta for sharing your story about your lovely daughter.  Your love for her is resounding.  I know how difficult it is being a parent.  I’m sure this situation doesn’t make things easier.  Very powerful and inspiring story.  I pray that we celebrate the cure announcement together.

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