Jeff's Story

I developed Psoriasis at the age of 13 following a school skiing trip to Italy.

What originally began as three tiny pinhead sized itchy dots on my back within a couple of weeks had developed into a head to foot coverage of thick crusty scales that I now realise was around PASI 60.

I was quickly admitted to our local children’s hospital where I spent around eight weeks and most of the school holidays being treated. Unfortunately, despite my efforts in attempting to control it afterwards, I was soon back for another long spell of treatment. This pattern of in-patient treatment continued for several years. Additionally, at the age of fifteen I began developing joint pain, which was quickly diagnosed as Psoriatic Arthritis.

Until developing Psoriasis I had been very sporty and the skin aspect of the condition stopped most of my sports at school with the exception of cricket as that was played with long sleeves and long trousers. Along come the joint problems and that was the end of that too!

By the mid to late 1980s and in my early twenties, I had exhausted all treatments available from Rheumatology and was discharged, as nothing had been effective.

After being discharged, I realised I had to live with the condition and decided that I wouldn’t let it ruin my life, I just needed to adapt to it and I effectively disengaged from medicine at that point. If I had a flare-up that looked like it was getting a bit out of control, I’d visit my GP - but on the whole I would just put up with it and self managed with anti-inflammatories and pain medication for my joints and whatever the flavour of the month was with topical skin treatment. I put enjoying my life at the top of my agenda and Psoriasis took a back seat.

Fast forward 35 years in the midst of the Covid pandemic and I had a little time on my hands so I decided to do a little research into Psoriasis and discovered an awful lot. The PASI score was probably the most significant finding as I was completely unaware of it. Applying the system retrospectively over my life I don’t think I’ve ever scored less than 12 and I’ve always had significant patches, but for me based on my early experience of the condition, it was something I was more than happy to live with – PASI 60 to PASI 12? I genuinely thought my skin was fine!

I also discovered The Psoriasis Association and attended the 2023 Conference at the ICC in Birmingham which is where I realised that not only were my early few years with Psoriasis quite rare, but also that there are a lot of positive things happening in the world of Psoriasis in terms of both research and treatments.

There was a Q&A section on how people lived with their condition and for me the answer was simple – I ignored it and got on with my life.

You shouldn’t ignore it, there are lots of treatment options – but don’t let it rule your life!