A few years ago, the life of Carin Bennett was abruptly altered. She went from being an energetic professional who was working out two to three times per week and practicing yoga daily while also practicing law, to a woman struggling to get out of bed in the mornings.
In 2018, she was severely injured in a car accident. While stopped at a red light, Bennett, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida, was hit from behind by a woman driving 80 miles per hour. Her car was then thrust under a truck in front of her and hit again by another car. As a result, she sustained significant injuries to her neck, fingers, ribs, and brain.
While undergoing physical therapy for her injuries, Bennett began to develop what looked like tiny pus-filled blisters on the palms of her hands and soles of her feet. The blisters began to pop and crust, and her skin began to crack deeply and peel. Her skin itched and burned terribly.
“I had raw palms, raw soles, and I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t open a water bottle. I couldn’t open a door. You can't groom yourself,” she says. She wrapped her hands in gauze and wore gloves — more to hide her skin than for protection. It was uncomfortable to be in public with her hands and feet wrapped in gauze, and fluid from the affected skin would often seep through her wrappings. “People think you're contagious and disgusting. It’s isolating,” she says.
Her body also ached from what she now knows is psoriatic arthritis. Between the cracking skin and the constant pain, it felt like walking on burning knives, she shares.
Three different health care providers misdiagnosed her with ringworm and prescribed treatment, but her condition continued to worsen. Finally, she saw a dermatologist who diagnosed her with palmoplantar pustulosis, a rare and often painful type of pustular psoriasis. As the doctor explained to Bennett that she had an immune-mediated chronic disease that would have to be managed the rest of her life, she remembers feeling frightened and confused. She was still processing and healing from her car accident and knew nothing about psoriasis.