Cameron Diaz, Me and Our Skin Disorder

Remember The Heartbreak of Psoriasis? I have that. I have a little patch of skin on my left elbow that is psoriasis-y. But I’m happy to report that I’m not heartbroken, yet.

I received the psoriasis diagnosis at a recent visit to a dermatologist for a bevy of other skin-related things I was stressing over. I was actually relieved, since I thought it was a dreaded Sore That Won’t Heal. I’d had it for about two years. I had figured I either had a psychological condition that compels me to pick at every scab and piece of skin that is half hanging off the mothership, or I had AIDS. Psoriasis wasn’t as heartbreaking as it could have been.

Don’t image-Google heartbreak of psoriasis, because you’ll see photos of people that have what looks like infected leprosy so bad that they would have been voted off the leper colony island. Ew. And a photo of Obama scratching his head once. Also, some photos of Cameron Diaz, who reportedly had it and it was all over the Internet. The whole search was kind of heartbreaking.

The commercial in the ‘60s had a man’s voice saying, in a very serious tone:

Eczema. Seborrhea. Psoriasis.

Eczema is an easy-come, easy-go kind of skin condition. I used to get it on the insides of my elbows all the time. It’s nothing to brag about. Seborrhea must have gone out of fashion because I haven’t heard mention of it since the early ‘70s. They must’ve found a cure for that around the same time they found a cure for Getting Overheated, something my mom used to warn us about whenever we got too wild in the house.

But psoriasis has risen to the top of the heap of skin conditions. Everyone seems to have it, including Cameron Diaz. So it only makes sense that there are some hilarious TV commercials urging the use of a new drug to treat it.

The ad for the psoriasis drug Stelara needs a lawyer bad. I know drug ads have to disclose every bad thing that could ever happen if you took it, and many drugs go to great lengths to be very up-front about the nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, dry mouth and gas that we’ve come to expect from taking anything that’s advertised on TV. But Stelara ad guy, come on! At what point after writing in the script These may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition do you just throw up your hands and say, “You know what, we don’t really need to put this on TV. Let’s just sell it the doctors through our drug reps like we did in the good old days.” Save your advertising dollars and invest in stress balls and paperclip-holder freebie hand-outs and catered lunch for the staff. Because as heartbreaking as psoriasis can be, I’d rather have rough, red patchy skin than having my own brain kill me.

I am not faced with that choice, yet. My dermatologist is treating me with a white substance that comes in a tube and if I could remember to apply it liberally BID, I think I can be psoriasis-free.

Cameron probably had people to do that for her.

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