When I First Learned I Had Psoriasis

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I remember it like it was yesterday. When I woke up at my friend, Michael's, house. I was 12 years old. And I do call it my Corrie Heart years, where I had this amazing spiked hair. I woke up one morning to find three huge patches of psoriasis on my scalp, two of which were clumped right together right at the front of my scalp. They formed what looked like-- with all the spiked hair together-- it formed what looked like two horns, devil horns coming out of my scalp.

And subsequent to waking up that day, every decision I made in my life revolved around my health, specifically, my psoriasis. When you have psoriasis, there is a decision that you make, from the clothing you wear, from who you're going out with, to who you're surrounding yourself with, and how often you take off your shirt or your long pants in the summertime.

Every single decision in your life revolves around your skin. So going through puberty with my psoriasis was obviously extremely humbling. And at the same time, gave me this unparalleled confidence, knowing that I could still be exactly who I wanted to be, regardless of having all of these huge patches of psoriasis on me. But believe me, it paid a physical, but more importantly, a mental toll.

Once I was diagnosed with psoriasis, I spent every high school exam in the hospital. I wrote every high school exam in the hospital. And I spent a year and a half of my life at the Dead Sea in Israel. Every day, I'd wake up, and I'd spend 14 hours a day sitting in the sunshine, which is what I call the first piece to my health puzzle.

Because the sunshine was always this first piece to my health puzzle, to be honest, I thought that it was the only place that I could find a reprieve. So I moved to Florida to go to culinary school. And that's when my path to finding a real career started.

And it was also the undoing of my psoriasis, quite frankly, because I realized the connection between the mental and the physical, and how when I was stressed, and when I was overworked that my body would physically react by way of-- or through my psoriasis. My psoriasis would flare up if I was stressed, if I was overworked.

And about seven years ago, I changed my diet and my life changed with the removal of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Refined sugar, specifically, allowed me to find both my physical and my mental health. But it paid an emotional toll back then.

I finally found what I love to do in life as a career, and that's cooking and that instant gratification that you receive. And so really, that's what it comes down to. And I became much more available to my family and everyone else mentally as well as physically.