Psoriasis

Living in the shadows of life. Avoiding social situations and activities. Staying out of relationships. Never wearing dark clothes. Deep depression and low self esteem. Changing careers or even choosing unemployment all because we fear what others will think. It’s all very hard to understand if your not actually living with the disease.

Maybe you’re newly diagnosed or you’ve had this disease for years, some of those situations might be your reality. I’ve experienced all those feelings and more. Years ago I literally had to “hang up my hat”.

Former Fireman/EMT Lieutenant Hook & Ladder. Fireman of the year 1995

The good news now is that this situation can be avoided. Due to the fact that we have so many treatments available. I can only speak from my experience. Still to this day, there isn’t a cure for psoriasis. But there are new and FDA approved prescription medications that are safe and effective. I know from what I read in the many support groups I’ve started that people are very concerned with side effects. I’m well aware of these concerns. I educate myself about each medication before I consider using it in order to control my disease. Most of you are aware that these drugs have to go through vigorous clinical trials and be evaluated before they are approved for use to the general public. I’m hoping my testimony helps you decide to seek help from your dermatologist or rheumatologist.

I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 28, over 30 years ago. My psoriasis was relentless, it took over my entire body. I felt helpless and it got to the point I felt worthless. I was at the lowest point of my life. Nobody could say or do anything to make me feel better. My psoriasis consumed me. I had a family to support and things got so bad it turned out they had to support me. Not something I would wish on anybody.

Then by some miracle I got a phone call about a clinical trial. I asked what it was all about and they explained. I didn’t know what to think or to say. I really didn’t have a choice, my disease took over my life. I was miserable. So much pain and embarrassment. I elected to volunteer for one of the first trials using an immune suppressant drug.

Just because I had my back against the wall didn’t mean I didn’t do my homework. I’ve read that this form of treatment was very promising. I sign the paperwork and started the medication. For the first time in years after many failed treatments my psoriasis was under control. I was extremely excited. I thought for sure this was the answer. But before I could celebrate a year later they withdrew the medication due to serious consequences for four patients in the trial. I rebounded from head to toe. I was hospitalized.

But I wanted that control back. I knew it was achievable and so did the scientists. They never gave up, they knew they were onto something. And they were right. Thanks to science we now have several immune suppressant biological medications that work extremely well. The safety profiles are stellar and their efficacy are exceptional. What’s great about these medications is that they target a specific pathway of the disease leaving the immune system intact. The medication blocks that pathway preventing the progression of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Unfortunately for me these drugs came a little late to the game as far as my careers were concerned, but I’m not complaining cause I’m practically 100% better. If I was newly diagnosed I wouldn’t hesitate to seek professional help. But don’t take my word for it, join one of the many support groups I’ve started and listen to others that have chosen this path.

Severe Plaque psoriasis of my back on the left from several years ago. The image on the right is a current photo of me using prescription medications.

I just wanted to add that I also apply topicals both prescribed and over the counter. I am also somewhat active with fitness and I educated myself about nutrition. Essentially I believe you can achieve these results too. Psoriasis is a serious autoimmune disease and needs to be addressed. If left untreated it can cause irreversible damage. We are at greater risk for several life threatening diseases. I’m encouraging you to come out of the shadows and live your life to the fullest.

#psoriasis #psoriaticdisease #overcomingpsoriasis #psoriaticarthritis #overcomingpsoriasis #dermatologist #skin

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