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One month and 100 miles later, Nish has completed his walking challenge raising a fantastic £255. In his story he tells us about his experiences of psoriasis and why he felt inspired to take on a challenge in support of the Psoriasis Association.
Hi, I’m Nish. I first had psoriasis when I was around 20 years old (at university), back then it first started on my scalp and being a university lad I didn’t really think too much of it (I put it down to a bit of dandruff).
Over the next few years I started getting dry patches around my shins, elbows and knees, but I still didn’t know I may have a skin problem (I hadn’t even really heard of the word psoriasis).
These patches would come and go so again I didn’t concern myself with talking to my GP or anyone else.
However towards my late 20s these dry flaky patches became more of a problem as it was causing me discomfort with sharp burning feelings and my skin would become red and bleed through continuous itching. I would be conscious that others could see my skin in this condition so I’d cover up (even in the hot summers). Again I didn’t really tell anyone about this, maybe it was because I had a sense of embarrassment, I would also not socialise with friends and family as sometimes I’d experience burning sensations (especially in warm environments).
This continuous period of flare-ups prompted me to speak with my GP, who in turn referred me to see a dermatologist. The dermatologist confirmed that I had psoriasis (which I still didn’t really know too much about), I was then prescribed topical ointments such as Betnovate and Dovonex which I have been using since. These ointments help me with reducing the itching feeling and to keep the skin moist but the burning sensation feelings were still residing inside.
Through the next few years I sensed a pattern to the psoriasis flare-ups I was getting, it seemed to occur mainly in the cold winter months (around October to February). In the summer it seems to be much better and hardly visible. I also noticed that when I was visiting a hotter climate like India that my psoriasis patches would either clear up or not occur.
Over the last 5 to 7 years the episodes and periodic discomfort has become more of an impact in my life. I have developed rashes on different areas such as, forehead, arms, feet, torso, back, ears. When the flare-ups occur (these literally can happen overnight), I try and contain them with the topical ointments but sometimes it just becomes unbearable.
Recently I did some research online and came across the wonderful Psoriasis Association. I became a member and initially I found it so useful to see that there is lots of research on there and also there is a wide forum of people that have psoriasis too. I started to read some of the tips and experiences that others were having and some seemed to match what I was feeling.
The Psoriasis Association (especially Laura and Amber) have been so amazing to me, as soon as I contacted the team they provided me with valuable information and their time. They have regularly kept in touch with me to see how I’m doing and really show they care, which means a lot.
I also noticed that so many people have skin conditions and they (like me) don’t initially know that they may have psoriasis and how it can be affected by stress, diet, lifestyle etc. I also noticed how important valuable research into a cure for psoriasis has been limited by the funding available.
So the combination of making others more aware and to raise such important funds for more research gave me inspiration to raise funds. As we were still in the winter months (but being in the month of January 2022 and with the days getting slightly longer I decided to raise funds by walking a 100 miles over the month of February).
During February my dermatologist has started me on a course of Methotrexate tablets (first time) which I’m hoping will help with the treatment.
Within the first few days of my challenge I got so much encouragement and appreciation from my wonderful friends and family that it gave me such a boost to do the walking over February.
February 2022 did offer lots of challenges for me, the cold weather was still causing me lots of discomfort (as the change in temperature and layers of clothes), but I made the most of the weather when it was sunny. I also found that another family member has also been diagnosed with psoriasis too (for many years) and we both arranged a walk to promote awareness and provide each other our experiences and tips.
My walking activities over February varied from doing a couple miles a day to 5 or 6 miles, where the weather was challenging I would be mindful and I’d do walking activities either indoors or go outside with an umbrella, I also visited the country reserve park where I’d feed the swans and continue my walking taking in natures wonderful wellbeing feeling.
Hooray, I managed to get to the 100 miles walking on the 26th of February and it was such a lovely feeling. My family and friends have been so supportive in encouraging me and helping me along the way, some have also become more aware of what psoriasis is (which is great). Raising £255 to date has been so heart-warming as I know that the money will go towards more valuable research of psoriasis.
I hope that by doing this challenge I have provided awareness of psoriasis to others and that if people do feel like they have a skin condition they can talk to others about it and not to be afraid to speak with the GP.
I shall look to support the cause in future by doing more events and helping to share awareness and provide useful tips.
Would you like to follow in Nish's footsteps and become a Psoriasis Association fundraiser? Find out how here.