Victim: A person who suffers from the effects of sickness, bad luck, or violence. All of these descriptions fit for those of us who suffer from psoriasis. An immune system malfunction causes this disease to overtake our lives, and with it can come many adverse effects to our health, both physically and mentally.
I suffered from psoriasis so severe that I became totally unproductive due to lack of rest. I also became very withdrawn and unable to participate in most activities because of restrictions to my movement and mental lag. I felt victimized by the actions of my own body. I only became positive in my attitude toward psoriasis by finding others with similar life conditions on MyPsoriasisTeam – finding people who really understand my journey. Thankfully, I am no longer a victim but a victor, and have achieved remission. I want to share my experience.
I attained remission with the help of a dermatologist - my third one - who was up on all the proven treatments and very knowledgeable of the detrimental health issues caused by psoriasis. He set up a plan to start with all known methods of treatment such as tanning [phototherapy], Cyclosporine, Prednisone, and eventually biologics [injected medications such as Humira, Enbrel, and Stelara]. We tried different dosages of each drug with weekly monitoring of blood samples and frequent visits to check for side effects on vital organs. We conducted a total visual and scoring procedure at every step of the way, with my medical care team continually encouraging me that the dermatologist would find a path to remission. I tried diets, avoiding certain foods, and every cream, lotion, steroid, and homemade remedy that I could find.
I was introduced to biologics and even participated in a few clinical trials for drugs that had not yet been approved – with varying amounts of success. Stelara worked exceptionally well for me, but it took two years to be approved for use. During that time, I had terrible flare-ups that caused immense suffering and pain. As soon as Stelara was available, I started using it, and after a couple of injections there was marked improvement. I have been glad to be on Stelara for 12 years and am 99.9 percent clear with no side effects – just a few very minor flare-ups, always in times of uncontrolled stress.
I wish I had had MyPsoriasisTeam when I was first diagnosed with psoriasis to help me feel less alone with this destructive disease. Reading a lot of other people’s journeys on MyPsoriasisTeam, talking to very friendly people about psoriasis, and answering their questions has given me a lot of peace and satisfaction. We can all help each other. I am so happy to hear some members have achieved remission. Another common thread on MyPsoriasisTeam seems to be stress as a major factor in causing psoriasis flare-ups. There are other factors as well, but stress is a very prevalent one. Also, because we are all different, we respond to meds differently. We each have to find what works. The importance of being positive and asking questions of others, including doctors, is also a great help. MyPsoriasisTeam is full of wonderful people all with similar problems on their journey. Keep smiling!
This article was written by MyPsoriasisTeam member Paul as part of the My Perspective series. Paul has been living with psoriasis since 1998.
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