Understanding Psoriasis Audiobook
Zoe runs out of her ballet class because she is embarrassed about her skin condition. The Medikidz take Zoe on a trip through the human body to explain psoriasis symptoms, triggers, treatment and how to talk about psoriasis with others in this audiobook version of our award-winning comic book Understanding Psoriasis.
Rebecca: Hi there and welcome to a special audiobook installment of Jumo’s In My Words Podcast series.
At Jumo, we produce everything from comic books that explain difficult medical conditions, to videos where families share practical insight and their stories of hope. Learning how to manage life after a diagnosis can be stressful and confusing, and we aim to make that a little easier.
Ok, let’s get started. Today’s story comes from our Understanding Psoriasis comic book. When Zoe runs out of ballet class because she’s so embarrassed about her skin condition, the Medikidz superheroes come and save the day with a bit of meducation.
Zoe: Hi, my name is Zoe! I’m friendly and fun, and I love dancing!
This is my first ballet class and I’m so excited….but I’m also scared!
Teacher: Excellent class. Excellent. Next position!
Zoe: See these long sleeves I’m wearing? They aren’t because I’m cold, they’re because I have a secret. A really embarrassing one!
Unfortunately it’s a secret….
Girl 1: What’s that?
Zoe: ...the whole world can see!
Nothing! Sorry. Gotta go! I need to walk the plants and water my dog--I mean---umm--bye!
Girl 1: Zoe wait!
Zoe: It’s hard to run away when you have to wait for your mom to pick you up!
Okay, this is what I’ve been saving up all my birthday wishes for. I wish to disappear, become invisible, anything!
Just get me…
Narrator: At Medikidz HQ…
Zoe: ...out of here? Medikidz!
Pump: That’s us! Answering medical questions and granting birthday wishes since...10 seconds ago!
Gastro: We’re going to teach you all about your psoriasis.
Axon: And to do so we shall teleport down to Mediland, a human shaped planet that looks and works just like the human body!
Zoe: Straight to the action, I like it! Let’s do it.
Skindy: Psoriasis changes how your skin looks and feels…but it’s more than a skin problem.
Even though you see psoriasis on the outside, we’re going to start...
Narrator: Just under Mediland’s skin...
Chi: ...on the inside!
Zoe: Those guys look crazy.
Gastro: That’s your immune system army, and normally they attack germs and invaders.
Pump: But in psoriasis they get confused and attack for no good reason, making your skin inflamed (red and sore) in some places.
White Blood Cell: That skin cell gave me the stink eye, attack!
Chi: Let’s go see what happens to the skin when it's attacked.
Narrator: On Mediland’s skin...
Zoe: Huh, things don’t look so bad up here. In fact, everything seems normal.
Gastro: Wait for it!
Gastro: There it is!
Skindy: The attacks cause red plaques to form on the surface of Mediland’s skin.
A plaque is an area of your skin that is raised and is not the colour of your normal skin.
[Pop, Pop, Pop]
Axon: The immune system army sends messages to your skin telling it to make more skin cells and to make them faster than normal.
White Blood Cell: Yeah, this skin is no good. We need new skin, and lots of it! Now! Now! Now!
Pump: The skin is working overtime, making more cells than it needs. Normally the skin replaces its outer layer once a month, but in areas of psoriasis it takes just a few days, and in Mediland just a few minutes!
The extra skin cells pile up and cause a flaky build up of scales.
Zoe: Look, I’m using ballet leaps to avoid giant flakes of skin. Today is weird!
Skindy: The red patches can make you feel itchy or they might be sore.
Be careful guys, these things are popping up everywhere! Chi, how far has it spread?
Chi: Pretty far! Often psoriasis first appears on the skin covering your head (the scalp) or on the elbows or knees.
But it can also show up on your face, and on the trunk of your body. You might have small areas or large ones. You might have plaques in just a few places or all over. You might even have psoriasis on your fingernails!
Gastro: So with psoriasis…
Zoe: Whoa, don’t touch me! I don’t want you to catch it!
Gastro: Oh, don’t worry about that! Psoriasis isn’t contagious.
You can’t catch it from someone else, and other people can’t get it from you.
Abacus: You're more likely to have psoriasis if someone in your family has it.
Axon: Psoriasis can develop after infections, injury to the skin and stress, but these things don’t actually cause the psoriasis.
They are triggers that might make your existing psoriasis worse.
Chi: Next stop...the bloodstream!
Zoe: Whoa! Where are they going in such a hurry?
Pump: Come on, we better follow them!
Your immune system works everywhere. This means that for some people with psoriasis, it can also cause problems in other parts of the body, not just the skin.
Zoe: Whoa, what’s that?
Skindy: That’s a joint. When the immune system attacks it, it can make a joint feel painful, stiff and hard to move. This is called arthritis.
Gastro: Here we go again!
Zoe: If I ignore the fact that I’m sitting inside a giant blood vessel, this is actually fun! Whee!
Axon: If the computer is correct, which it is because I built it and I’m a genius, we should be coming out in the...
Zoe: The immune system attacks here too?
Axon: It is rare, but a few people with psoriasis can have Crohn’s disease, which affects your digestive system. It makes your belly sore and causes problems going to the bathroom.
Gastro: Too much fat around the belly is another common problem in kids and teenagers who have psoriasis. It can lead to other health issues, like narrow blood vessels and heart problems, especially if the psoriasis is severe.
That’s why it is important to watch your weight.
Chi: Let’s head back to the skin!
Narrator: Back on the surface of the skin...
Zoe: Okay, so now I know about psoriasis and what it can do to me, But what can I do to it?
Axon: Excellent question! The doctor can give you medicine to soothe your red, itchy and sore skin.
Speaking of medicine...
Pump: ...we’re going to treat Mediland’s psoriasis!
Skindy: Topicals, like creams, lotions or gels, are usually used first. You apply these on the affected skin, even onto the scalp.
Chi: If topicals aren’t working and your psoriasis is really bothering you, light therapy might help.
Light from a special bulb shining on your skin a few times a week may help you feel better.
Axon: and if that doesn’t work...
Gastro: ...sometimes the doctor will prescribe pills or injections.
These medicines work inside your body to calm your immune system army. Always remember to follow your doctor’s instructions about how to use or take your medications.
Zoe: Wow, using the medicines really helped! Mediland looks a lot better.
Axon: Indeed! Now, let’s head back to HQ.
Narrator: Back at Medikidz HQ...
Chi: Zoe, what’s wrong?
Zoe: I’m glad I understand psoriasis, and I’m glad I know how to treat it, but it still doesn’t make having it any easier.
Skindy: Living with psoriasis is hard.
It can be super frustrating that sometimes your skin gets better and you think everything is okay, but then it comes back!
Sometimes a trigger can cause a flare-up, but other times the plaques will come back and you won’t know why!
Gastro: Having itchy and sore skin can make it tricky to do the things you love. It can even make it hard for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Man, just saying the word itch makes me itchy!
Abacus: I am the most advanced computer in the galaxy, not a backscratcher!
Zoe: The itchy sore skin is annoying, but honestly it’s feeling like I have to go into hiding that’s the worst. It makes me feel so alone.
Chi: I get that having psoriasis can change how you feel about yourself.
Skindy: The way your skin looks might make you feel embarrassed, sad and even angry.
Chi: You might worry about what other kids will think. Don’t! You might stop doing things with your friends. Don’t. You might feel alone. You’re not!
Skindy: Remember, stay positive! The stress of worrying about your psoriasis can make it worse.
Pump: Whenever you’re feeling down or stressed, talk about your feelings with your family, friends and doctor. It can help a lot!
Gastro: Yeah, and try to make healthy choices, like eating your fruits and vegetables, and doing activities that you love.
Zoe: Speaking of doing activities I love, I better get back to ballet class!
Teacher: Zoe, we were worried about you!
Zoe: Sorry, everybody. See, I have this skin condition called psoriasis and I guess I was embarrassed about it.
Girl 2: You don’t need to be embarrassed! We’re your friends! We don’t care that you have a skin condition.
Girl 1: Yeah, I’m sorry if I made you feel bad. I was just wondering what it was. I didn’t want you to leave!
Zoe: I’m sorry I ran out, but don’t worry ‘cause I am here to stay!
My name’s Zoe! I’m your typical girl, and by typical I mean I’m pretty much the coolest, most awesome girl you’ll ever meet!
I’m friendly and fun, love hanging out with my friends and family, and I love dancing...and I don’t have any more secrets, just great friends!
Rebecca: Thanks for listening! We'll be adding new episodes all the time. We also take requests, so if you have a great topic, let us know! Who knows, we may even interview you! Visit us at JumoHealth.com.
In My Words is produced in New York City and distributed worldwide.
In My Words - A Jumo production.