The “clever” Thanksgiving advertisement by FanDuel caught my attention immediately. It wasn’t because I love to watch sports or that I bet on games (I don’t). Rather, their stating of the odds of a family member mentioning their psoriasis at the family gathering felt off-putting as someone who has lived with it for most of my life.
As of today I hadn’t seen a response from FanDuel, but if I do I’ll amend this post. Regardless, I disagree that “everything in life is a bet,” as the commercial suggests. Thinking in these terms about others who have a serious chronic illness is insensitive and dark. Nor is it “TMI” to share about living with a chronic illness.
For much of my life I’ve fought the stigma that psoriasis is “just a rash” that is an annoyance to others.
I knew I wanted my annual flu shot. But I couldn’t decide on whether I really wanted to get another COVID vaccination.
To help make my decision I messaged my dermatologist the day before. I waited for the email notification that she had responded to my request for her medical advice. As of the time I left for CVS I had yet to hear back from her, but felt that she would say go ahead since we talked about getting boosted earlier in the year.
Making the Decision to Get the COVID Bivalent Booster
I didn’t get my second booster earlier this year even though I was eligible and encouraged to. I had the passing thought I might be immune to COVID already and didn’t need it.
I’ve had multiple known exposures to people who tested positive for COVID and never got it myself (unless I had an asymptomatic case). Most recently Lori had a bout that lasted a few weeks. I didn’t sleep in the living room until a couple of days after she started feeling unwell. Not getting COVD from Lori made me feel invincible.
Having psoriasis does not suppress my immune system either. But taking a biologic (monoclonal antibody) for psoriasis that modulates my immune system edges me into a potential higher risk group for more severe COVID symptoms. Asthma is a risk factor that I had to consider as well. Turning 50 years old makes me a candidate for a host of vaccines, including the bivalent COVID-19 booster.
Fearing Side Effects of the Vaccine
The first three Moderna jabs (initial two rounds and first booster) made me feel ill for two to three days each time. The side effects ranged from severe headache, stomach upset, sorest arm I can ever remember, sour joints throughout my body, brain fog, and low-grade fever.
And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Many health bloggers I know started writing to process their experience. Over time others began reading their story, noting their courage and boldness. Their willingness to personally share what most people want to hide sets them apart. Eventually, writing a blog led to more opportunities to speak up for a disease state community in the media or with government authorities.
Their journey mirrors the seasons of healing outlined in this study guide: from questions and loneliness to speaking up for and helping others. What strikes me about their stories is how they reach out to others while still living and managing a chronic illness.
The call to empower and serve others does not mean one is free of struggle. Indeed, those who pass on God’s love to neighbors often need the support and love of others at the same time. Jesus’ greatest commandment reflects the notion that loving your neighbor is akin to loving yourself—something everyone naturally does.
James directs believers to also look after the needy and forgotten in society such as the widows and orphans. In addition, Paul tells Timothy to teach others what he has learned from his mentor. In doing so he ensures that future generations benefit from his hard-earned wisdom.
Therefore, I urge you,brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conformto the pattern of this world,but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasingand perfect will.
The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
During the fall term of my second year at college my attitude and view of psoriasis began to shift. I started seeing how God could utilize my lifelong battle with chronic illness to benefit others. A breakthrough came when I took the risk to share my psoriasis journey in front of a few hundred students at my college Christian fellowship large group meeting. To my surprise, fellow students supported and encouraged me for my transparency. A few even pulled me aside to share their own struggles. That evening God revealed to me how he can use my trials to empower others who feel weak or beaten down.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans about offering themselves to God as a sacrifice. The language he uses harkens back to the Jewish temple sacrificial offerings of animals, as explained in passages like Hebrews 9:13-14. The priest offered the sacrifice to God as a way for the worshiper to draw close to God. Here the priest and the offering are one in the same—the believer. This offering, unlike those in animal sacrifices, remains alive to be repeatedly offered. To sacrifice the body symbolizes the entirety of a person offered to God to bring others closer to God. All this is done “in view of God’s mercy” as described in the earlier chapters of his letter.