Treating My Psoriasis-Related Cellulitis

Over the past weekend I had a rather unpleasant time. My psoriasis continued to thicken, swell, and spread in spite of a full-frontal attack of medications and treatments. I felt tense much of Saturday. But something else was brewing — a growing skin infection that turned into an excruciatingly painful cellulitis abscess. At first I didn’t think too much of it, figuring it would “pop” eventually and go away as others had. This one, however, just expanded and expanded like a red birthday balloon. By Sunday night I could not sleep, kept awake until 6 a.m. by constant pain and irritation. I watched A LOT of coverage on the killing of Osama bin Laden overnight. I also emailed my dermatologist at 4 a.m. out of desperation knowing that I needed to treat the growing concern.

I finally got some shut-eye after putting a pillow under the abscess on my leg. That relieved some of the pressure and irritation. Later in the morning the doctor’s office called to let me know I could see the dermatologist in the afternoon. I began to dread the visit, telling myself repeatedly that she would only give me an antibiotic and not cut it open. It hurt to the touch and the thought of a blade on that mountain of fluid on my leg made me queasy. Unfortunately, I could not avoid the lancing.

She started with two injections of anesthetic (OUCH!) before checking to see if the area was sufficiently numb. I think my wife teasing me that I didn’t know pain since I had never given birth helped lighten the moment …. a bit. But the pain just continued as the doctor drained as much fluid as possible. With some gauze and tape on the infection site, and an antibiotic prescription in hand, it was time to go home to heal.

We figure the bacteria associated with the cellulitis (a bacterial skin infection) caused my recent flare, so getting the abscess drained and starting antibiotics should help the psoriasis. But this whole incident tells me once again of how fragile my overall health can be with immune suppression therapies, staph and strep bacteria in my environment, and the inevitable infections they will cause if I’m not careful with my health. As I read more about this condition, I found out that those with skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis are more prone to these infections than those without. Psoriasis involves so much more than treating a skin rash! Having psoriasis is a risk factor for skin infections, while the skin infections make my psoriasis worse. Yikes.

As we enter in May, do you have any updates on your treatments or condition? How has your health recently surprised you in one way or another?

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