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Lisa documents the ups and downs of her psoriasis including the treatments she has tried, how the condition has impacted her psychologically and a particularly difficult flare up following the birth of her second born.
I have suffered with psoriasis for as long as I can remember (4 years old to be precise)! My first memory was my Mum putting cream on my patches over my body and having to use coal tar treatments in my hair which I hated because of the smell and how messy it was.
Over the years until I was 17 I’d have the odd patches on my body and scalp but it was manageable. Soon after though I remember it starting to rear its ugly head again with patches appearing here and there. I went to a foam party one night and the next morning my whole body was covered! I cannot even describe how sad, alone and ugly I felt. I did not know what to do and had to wait for 6 weeks to see a dermatologist. Being 17, it totally affected my social, college, work and home life. I felt totally alone as I did not know anyone else who suffered with the disease.
Over the next 20 years I’ve had a total rollercoaster with the disease, using UVB and topical treatments. Surprisingly in both of my pregnancies it totally disappeared and my skin looked and felt amazing! But as soon as the babies were born it pretty much came back straight away.
It is constantly on my mind - especially in a flare up. What can I wear? What skin can I show/not show? Can I go to that event? The pressure is unbelievable and as hard as try I always end up pushing those that care for me away.
My last flare up was last year after a particularly stressful event with my second born. I got prescribed cyclosporine (an immune suppressant drug used for kidney transplants). The side effects are not nice but that is totally outweighed by having ‘normal’ skin to live with. I felt amazing for the year I was on them. I had to come off the drugs after the year as it has such harmful effects to the body - particularly kidneys.
Two weeks later and boom, I could feel it creeping up through my skin. The pain was unbearable - scratching, burning and itching. I felt totally alone again, lost and overwhelming thoughts of looking and feeling ugly.
So here I am now in my second worst flare up in my 34 years of having this chronic skin disease and I am waiting to start methotrexate which is a drug used in chemotherapy acting in the same way as cyclosporine, but it can be used over a longer period and it affects the liver. I’ve had a chest X-ray and umpteen blood tests, which will continue whilst on the medication.
I am looking at totally changing my diet now and I am trying to stay positive and confident in my own skin. My family and friends are so supportive and look at me being beautiful inside and out still. I know this flare up will pass and I am getting on with my life living with this disease.