I first remember being diagnosed with Psoriasis around 1990. It arrived about a year earlier in the form of a white scaly dot on my knee which I hoped would simply go away.
After eventually realising that it wasn’t going to and feeling self conscious about it, I decided to make a doctors appointment.
I wanted to know what this was and more importantly to find out what cure there was for it.
The doctor wrote the name of the skin condition down on a piece of paper, handed it to me and told me this is what I had and then asked if I knew what it was. I had never seen nor heard of the word psoriasis, I couldn’t even spell it properly. Anxiously I asked if there was a cure to which came the reply NO! I then recall getting really worried at the prospect of being affected by something very noticeable for the rest of my life and that unbeknown to me at the time was to become more widespread on my body in the years to come.
However, there was treatment available to control it as I was prescribed creams/ointments and lotion Betnovate I think it was, when I developed scalp psoriasis. He would chop and change these, like when I thought one wasn’t working he would take me off it and start me on another. I thought all of the medication was pretty ineffective though and that he being a GP was limited to what he could prescribe. Also in my opinion he didn’t have the same knowledge about the skin condition as a dermatologist would or an understanding of how it was affecting me emotionally as well as physically.
For some reason the doctor would not give me a referral, I was going to have to arrange an appointment to visit a specialist myself.
I did exactly that after hearing of a doctor based in Dunedin who was treating a patient with psoriasis living in my area.
It was about then in 1994 that I decided to join the Southland Psoriasis Association, a local support group which I am still a member of today. Feeling quite isolated at the time I was wanting to have contact with people who had the same condition, a decision I don’t regret as I feel this has really helped over the years.
I also have a good rapport with the dermatologist which is important. Since the initial visit to the present day he has been treating my condition with Locoid Lipocream around my facial area, and on the rest of my body alternating between Dermol and Daivonex ointments and Nerisone cream. This has kept it under control when I am feeling motivated enough to take time out to apply them. I appear to get run down and fatigued a lot and am uncertain to whether it’s a side effect from the medication or just part of having psoriasis or maybe both.
He has prescribed me with two oral medications. The first was Methotrexate which I soon had to be taken off as it was having a bad effect on my liver. The second was Ciclosporin which to my mind wasn’t controlling it very well.
This year I started on the self-injection medication Humira and have noticed a definate improvement even at this early stage which I find encouraging.
On a personal note while I have got used to living with psoriasis for a good part of my life I am still very self-conscious and aware of it, the plaques on my skin are a constant reminder which unfortunately (unlike some people) I am not able to ignore. For instance I wouldn’t feel comfortable swimming in a public place or taking my shirt off on a hot day – I would know without looking that people would be staring at me.
Like everyone with this condition I live in hope that one day – hopefully in my lifetime – a cure for psoriasis will be discovered.