19 Mar, 2019

How I learned to live with my psoriasis

Diagnosed in his late twenties, this is Chris’s journey with psoriasis.

Chris, tell us about you and what made you want to share your story?

I’m 36, have 2 children and work in local housing. My main hobbies are whatever my children are into at the moment!

I think I’m better with my psoriasis now that it’s more stable. The most terrifying part was when I would first see a small patch and slowly watch it grow. Almost equally as scary was going online to find out more information. This often led me down a rabbit hole of snake oil cures and wacky diets. I think that my advice to people who do get diagnosed is to only use trusted website and accept for the time being there is no definitive cure. The temptation to believe someone on Reddit who has cleared their Psoriasis by only drinking carrot juice can be dangerous.

When did you first find out you had psoriasis and what’s your experience living with it?

I had an extremely bad period of time in my late twenties with high levels of stress, arguments, money problems etc, mixed in with excessive alcohol. The patches started on my knees and to be honest I didn't think anything of it, just assuming it would go away. It probably wasn't until it was on my fingers and nails that I realised that something was happening and I looked into it further.

It didn’t take long to get a diagnosis from the doctors. I remember thinking, “oh great, we know what it is. Now how do we fix it”? Little did I know…! I was referred to a Dermatologist who gave me the stinky tar stuff. This did nothing really other than making my bed sheets smelly and greasy. Fast forward a year or 2 and I realised I had Psoriatic Arthritis. In an odd way, this was a blessing as the Dermatologist was not super helpful.

Once I got my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis I was prescribed methotrexate which has placated my psoriasis somewhat. I “only” have it on my hands, elbows, knees and sometimes it appears on my face. I've seen people who have it a lot worse and my heart breaks for them. Anyway, I'm going to start taking biologist injections soon as the arthritis is getting worse so hopefully, that will clear up the Psoriasis.

What impact does psoriasis have on your everyday life?

To be honest, at present my life isn’t overly impacted. I have incorporated rubbing the Instella into my morning routine. I'm married with 2 children so my focus is on them rather than myself.

When I was younger it made me very self-conscious. Why would a woman want to hold hands with my hands? But she did!

When it comes on my face now it's still very depressing and there's a big element of “why me”. But again, you drive yourself mad thinking like that. The methotrexate has limited my alcohol intake. This probably isn’t a bad thing but it has made that side of life a bit less fun. Or maybe I'm just getting old…

Do you believe there will be a cure for psoriasis in the next 25 years?

I certainly hope so. It seems that the treatment has come on a lot in the last 25 years. You have to think that it’ll at least be managed in a simpler and more effective way, if not cured.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given about having psoriasis?

Just accept that it's not going away. Don’t dream about the day it’ll be gone, just accept that this is your life now and deal with it. Having said that, remember when you're having a bad day it's likely to settle down at some point.

Some general advice:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Cut down on booze.
  • Eat well and exercise.

Whether they will reduce your Psoriasis or not, it’ll certainly make you feel better overall.

Do you have an eczema or psoriasis story you’d like to share? Feature in our Beating the Itch series by getting involved here.

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