Healing by sharing
FAIR like most people with chronic illness, Rocyie Wong (Photo) came to terms with the physical pain.
But overcoming the emotional pain has been difficult, made worse by ineffective and sometimes damaging advice from friends and relatives.
But today, Wong has made that weakness his strength, using his experience with psoriasis to get others to open up about their condition and advocate for the understanding of others.
Wong’s journey began when she was nine years old.
“It started with flakes on my hair that I assumed was dandruff. It wasn’t that bad. Just a lot of white stuff on my shoulders, ”she said the sun.
Two years later, his scalp started to itch, causing him to scratch it so vigorously that it started to bleed and became painful to the touch.
“I woke up with a head injury and blood stains on my pillow.”
Yet Wong still thought it was normal.
“I thought it was just a skin condition that would go away if I applied a skin cream, but it only got worse,” she said.
It was only by chance that she was later diagnosed with psoriasis. A friend had wanted to test a product on her scalp, but was told to see a doctor instead.
At 14, she was diagnosed with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes red, itchy, scaly patches on the skin.
The Malaysian Dermatological Society has estimated that it affects 500,000 to 800,000 Malaysians.
Although it appears to be cosmetic, the National Psoriasis Foundation explained that the disease is caused by an overactive immune system, resulting in the overproduction of skin cells.
Multiple visits to skin specialists gave the same diagnosis and prognosis – there is no cure.
“As a teenager it was heartbreaking.”
Wong then retreated into her shell, while friends and family members tried to persuade her to take various remedies.
“One that I remember was applying a paste of cooked garlic to my skin and wrapping it in cling film. It ended up burning my skin.
Likewise, traditional herbs made no difference. Eventually, Wong told her parents that she didn’t want to be treated like a lab rat anymore.
In college, she studied nutrition and then began a plant-based diet. She graduated three years ago.
“I was too sick to do anything other than stay home to take care of my body,” she said.
It was then that she took the time to research recipes that she believed would help alleviate her suffering.
It is also at this time of
a personal reflection that led to a new cause: Speaking publicly about your journey with psoriasis as part of a 23-day Project Naked campaign.
His thoughts on his Instagram account @safespace_my have attracted 12,100 followers. She used the platform to offer her support and empower those who were fighting the same fight.
Wong said she was initially afraid of what her campaign might lead to, but was surprised by the show of support. This led to a new project called Safe Space.
“It started as a physical space in which everyone can talk about their pain, but the Covid-19 pandemic made it necessary to put the forum online. Today, it has followers from all over the world.
Wong’s battles also led to a new calling: being a holistic nutritionist. Overall, she said it had been a healing experience.