The landscape of the psoriasis and psa community is changing rapidly. In the last five years I’ve seen more progress than can be imagined. Everything seems to be in place for the development of safer more effective treatments. I wouldn’t be surprise in the next twenty years scientists discover a cure. I call it “snowball research,” mainly because as we move forward the amount of research being done for our disease is growing exponentially. I believe social media is the hill that is the downhill catalyst helping us generate inertia and velocity towards our goal. Many patients are flocking to facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, wordpress blogs, to share their stories and pictures. Many have become passionate and obsessed posting in support groups and participating in studies.
Patients are only part of the equation. Pharmaceutical companies are competing for market share with newer safer medications. The National Psoriasis Foundation is the leading advocate for our community. I’m proud to say I am a member and have been for years. I do what I can to drive traffic to their website through our support group Overcoming Psoriasis. That’s where I met Maria Bascetta who is a personal trainer and health coach. She launched her own personal website at www.mariabascetta.com. I would like to share her story and pictures that she shared with me. In her own words:
“SO. I started noticing signs of autoimmune disease when I was young. Like 12-13 yrs old. Itchy scalp, eczema, hives all the time. Was diagnosed with mild psoriasis or eczema back then. Given tar shampoo, all the creams. Didn’t really work but skin didn’t get too bad.
Went away to college in DC at 18. Skin started to get worse around then. I wasn’t healthy. Smoke, drank, didn’t eat well. Then when I turned 20ish I started to get severe joint pain and all sorts of skin worsening symptoms. Got diagnosed with Lymes Disease after a year or trying to figure out what was happening. Met a nutritionist – she started helping me look at my diet. During the Lymes treatment which was heavy heavy antibiotics for over a year my skin got terrible and my joints got terrible. Was put on methotrexate which caused me to bruise all over and feel terrible. Skin cleared up. Took myself off the methotrexate and my joints and skin rebounded into worse than ever.
Found a Dr in Maryland (Dr Lawrence Green) – derm, who I really liked. Did Talconex, topicals. A course of light therapy with him. Took a while but my skin cleared. All the while working in the health industry and training people. My joints stabilized but were swollen a lot. I was in pain but was afraid to try anything after the methotrexate stint.
Went vegan, went paleo, cut alcohol, had quit smoking, started managing stress. Kept reading about what to do naturally. Did another course of light therapy when it came back. Worked but not as well. Continued topicals. It came back a year later. I dreaded summer. I covered up. My hands were swollen.
Bought my own light box … did that for a bout a year before I moved to Nashville in 2014 Oct. It worked. But it was getting hard to manage. Was blasting myself with light for over 30 min a day trying to get each body part. (smaller box). Ended up googling “new treatments” and reading about cosentyx and finding the facebook page.
Asked questions on the facebook page – met everyone. Got excited. Seemed safer than other meds and more successful. I always feared meds bc I am so young. (Im 32 now). Found a dr – Dr. Jennifer Lee in TN. Talked to her. Called my old doc, Lawrence Green who is using Cosentyx
for patients. Made the jump in May of 2015. Dr. Lee has been great. I cleared by mid June (started may 7th ish). My joints don’t hurt. My skin looks beautiful. It has been life changing. Been on one pen for the last three months.
I am thankful that I never gave up. I kept waiting and hoping and staying positive. I competed in grip this year b/c my hands don’t hurt. I have some residual damage but it’s minimal. Being sick has given me so much empathy and so many gifts when it comes to working with people. I know what it’s like to want to hide / to want to stop / to be hurting but to be a very physical being. Movement has been and will continue to be my life in many forms. I am very grateful.”
I’m inspired by Maria and her motivation to succeed. If you want the support and the information to help you succeed I encourage you to join our group Overcoming Psoriasis on facebook. While there you will gain helpful tips to control your psoriasis and psa. You will be able to read about others and their challenges. The group is closed so others who are not members will not see what is being posted or written. The group is protected by five experience admins. We have successfully directed people to doctors that specialize in our disease. We discuss OTC treatments and Home remedies. We are a one stop support group. Nothing is left on the table. Everyone is treated with dignity and we have strict rules and guidelines to keep the rift raft from trying to sell you overpriced “miracle cures.” Thank you Maria for being brave to share your story.