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From having his life affected by the daily treatment routine, to the impact on his self-confidence, and the relief of finding an effective medication, Nathan shares his journey with psoriasis.
I was first diagnosed with psoriasis in 2012, this was a patch of dry skin on my back about the size of a baseball. At the time I didn’t really understand what psoriasis was and like many just assumed that it was like mild eczema and that it would need some cream and it would be ok.
My opinion and understanding of psoriasis was soon to change, the small patch on my back started to spread, ‘common areas’ started appearing around my scalp, elbows, knees, legs. It was soon getting out of control. I went through so many steroid creams and skin routines that my life was being affected by my treatment and what made it worse was that it wasn’t working.
My psoriasis reached its worst in 2018 and at this point it was covering 85% – 90% of my body, but that’s just what you could see. Psoriasis destroys your self-confidence, it controls what you wear, what you do, affects your sleep and you itch, you itch all the time. Being hot is the worst for the itching and you can just scratch until it bleeds. The irony in the condition is that you want to cover it up so that no-one sees it, but I found that the sun was the best thing for it, yet why would I take my top off? I couldn’t – I couldn’t comprehend people seeing me. The mental effects of this condition cannot be underestimated, even in my short time with the condition I have seen the impact that this has and the recognition that this is now getting in dermatology.
Whilst it was horrible, I do feel lucky that I was mainly clear of psoriasis on my face and hands… but that was my only grace.
In 2019 I was prescribed methotrexate (an immune system suppressant). This was my turning point and within 4 months I was clear – completely. Nothing and very little scarring showing, and within 8 months I looked like I did before this all started. All because of this life changing medication, and it really was life changing. I felt like me again, I could wear what I wanted, I could take my top off in the changing rooms at football without caring, and I didn’t have to worry about going to the swimming pool. It was bliss!
Early in 2021 my worst nightmare hit – taking methotrexate has risks and one of the highest risks is liver damage, to monitor this you have to have regular blood tests. I went for a regular test but wasn’t feeling my best. I was called the next day to be told to immediately stop the methotrexate, now this was a life changing medication – I wasn’t giving it up but I was told I had no choice. My liver function rate was close to hospital admission, so I stopped and within 2 weeks the psoriasis started to come back. I have been off the medication for 4 months and whilst I have small patches at the moment it is not what it used to be. Fingers crossed after review I will be back on the medication but for now I soldier on.
People say that adding photos of your condition can help your awareness, but I don't have any - not a single photo. 9 years and not a single picture where you can see my psoriasis - I guess this just shows how much it controlled the decisions I made on clothing etc. and how protective and aware of this I have been.
Nathan is running the Alton Towers 10k this November to raise funds for the Psoriasis Association. You can support him here.