I collaborated with Celgene Corporation to create this post. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.
For me, the spots appeared overnight when I was 15 years old. Even though my grandma had plaque psoriasis, my spots made such an angry and sudden appearance that my parents and I thought it was an allergic reaction. The dermatologist quickly confirmed that it was psoriasis and my journey began.
After my doctor made the diagnosis, he started talking to my mom and me about what treatments we’d start with and then what the backup plan would be if the first treatments didn’t work. My first emotional challenge with psoriasis was understanding that there was no magic solution that would clear my skin and that this was something I would likely live with forever. Though my grandma visited Alaska when she was in her 50s and never flared again, so I have hope and still need to plan a trip to Alaska!
When my doctor diagnosed me with psoriasis it was the mid-90s and there were a lot of topicals on the market –gels, creams, mousses – and everything was messy and greasy. For extra oomph, I’d apply the topicals before bed and wrap myself in saran wrap to keep them in place. When none of those worked, my doctor switched me over to light therapy which took place several times a week at the dermatologist’s office. I spent the first few years of my diagnosis treating with topicals and in a light box, but all my treatments were still solely focused on my skin, so I still associated psoriasis as being just a skin condition. Over time, many new treatment options have become available that treat this autoimmune disease from within including inejctions, biologics and oral therapies. It’s important for people to speak with their dermatologist to find a treatment plan that works for them, but it’s great to know all the treatments that are out there now!
In addition to learning more about new treatments, I also was recently introduced to the INSIDE PERSPECTIVE campaign, by Celgene Corporation and it reminded me of my own journey to understand how living with psoriasis impacts my life daily. It took me over ten years to completely understand that psoriasis isn’t just a skin disease and that it starts inside the body. The campaign encourages people to go beyond the surface of psoriasis, and learn more about the importance of their condition. As part of the campaign, TV host and fashion journalist Louise Rose switched lives with Alycia, a finance analyst living in New York City, who has been living with psoriasis for 16 years to get an inside perspective on each other’s lives – and their daily challenges living with plaque psoriasis. Their full story can be viewed at www.PsOPerspective.com
Over the years, I’ve come to learn that I need to treat my psoriasis from within because it starts from within and effects both my body and mind. I was letting psoriasis determine what I wore, how I felt about myself, and how I lived my life. When I had a flare, I hated meeting new people or meeting with clients and would choose not to socialize in certain situations or go to certain places (like the beach).
With my current lifestyle as a commuting, working, mom of two toddlers, who sometimes writes a blog, achieving balance can sometimes be incredibly overwhelming and it reflects on my skin. I’ve been told that I don’t make enough time to take care of myself, so I’ve been mindful lately on ensuring that there is calmness within my body and mind. I’ve stopped letting psoriasis dictate the choices I make, and I’ve accepted that it’s a part of me.
I’ve had my ups and downs with flares throughout the years, but I have an amazing support system in my family and friends who help me through the harder times. In the INSIDE PERSPECTIVE video, Alycia and Louise are immediately connected since they both share the commonality of living with psoriasis. The psoriasis community includes some of the most incredible people I’ve met in my life, because they just get it and there’s a focus on maintaining positivity and hope.
Becoming a part of the psoriatic community has been one of the most important ways that I feel supported and can support fellow patients. I absolutely love that there are campaigns out there focused on showing what its really like to live with psoriasis and putting emphasis on the fact that it’s not just a skin thing!