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You're not alone. People living with psoriasis share their stories

Plaque psoriasis patient Gina
Gina
Swimmer, back in the water
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I've tried to cover the plaques on my scalp for as long as I can remember. Then, as I got older, the plaques started to cover my arms and legs. By the time I was a teenager, I was wearing long sleeves and pants to hide my plaques, even in the middle of summer. Even inside my home, life was difficult. I told my family that my condition wasn't contagious, but they would always put long sheets on chairs because they thought my psoriasis would ruin their furniture.

As I got older, I just became more and more frustrated as my symptoms worsened. The most difficult part was the itching, flaking, and the redness. It spread all the way down to my eyebrows. I tried to keep my bangs long. I went to a dermatologist who had me try several types of treatments, but none really worked. Was I just going to live like this forever? But then, we finally found one that worked. After about a month of using it, a coworker ran up to me and said, "Gina! Look at your forehead! It's clearer!" I immediately ran to the bathroom and looked into the mirror and saw that my plaques were not nearly as noticeable. The first time I was able to go the ballpark wearing a tank top was incredible.

The first time I was able to go to the ballpark wearing a tank top was incredible.
The only time I wore tank tops before was in my house or going to bed. Now, I feel comfortable letting my skin show.
Plaque psoriasis patient Robert
Robert
Pastor, back on the beach
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I first noticed the plaque psoriasis on my chest, then it spread to my elbow, down my legs, and across my back. It never affected my work or hobbies, but my plaques were uncomfortable and itchy. I was also reluctant to wear shorts or go swimming. People would think it was contagious. And I didn't want that.
 

I would get topical creams from the doctor, but none of them really worked. As time went on I noticed more plaques on my legs, arms, chest, and back. They just wouldn't go away. I was getting frustrated.

Now my plaques have improved and cover much less of my body.
It wasn't until I started talking about other options with my dermatologist that he changed my treatment. Now, after all this time, my plaques have improved and cover much less of my body. I even went on a company trip to the Bahamas and spent lots of time on the beach. It was a big step for me.
Plaque psoriasis patient Bob
Bob
Firefighter and grandpa
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I first was diagnosed with psoriasis, then 10 years later I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I was only 26.

My plaques were pretty severe. I had them on my face—eyebrows, cheeks, under my eyes; stomach; elbows; and upper thighs. And they would crack and bleed.

I had to stick with topical treatments for my psoriasis as oral medications didn't agree with me. I also tried natural remedies, but had little success.

As a firefighter, I was coming to grips with the fact that the disease was winning. I was ready to keep working as long as I could, but knowing I'd eventually have to take a desk job.

I had plaques on my face, elbows, stomach, thighs... (now) I have significantly less.

I went to my dermatologist asking for one treatment, but she recommended another. I trusted her judgment, and when I went back to see her three months later for a follow-up, I was so thrilled with how I felt I gave her a hug. My fingers, which used to look like chestnuts, were back to nearly normal, and I only had a few lesions left. I'm even able to continue fighting fires, and no longer have to rely on other firefighters to carry my equipment. I love being a fireman, and now I feel like a fireman.

Plaque psoriasis patient Amanda
Amanda
Software engineer and personal goal achiever
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I was just 16 when I noticed a patch of rough skin on my elbow. My uncle and grandmother had plaque psoriasis, so when I started getting plaques my mom recognized it right away.

My entire body would show signs, such as plaques on my elbows and knees. My life as a teenager was drastically changing.

I tried several treatments, including creams that my doctor prescribed, but in November 2002 my doctor suggested a different option.

I have been able to make new goals for myself.
Over the next six months I could see myself getting better. I have been able to make new goals for myself. I know everyone reacts differently to treatment but personally I have had great success.
Plaque psoriasis patient Wayne
Wayne
Retired minister and rose gardener
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When I look back, I realize that I had been living with symptoms for about 30 years. It started with a small rash, then eventually covered 90% of my body. The most affected areas were my hands, knees, elbows, groin, and legs. I didn't dare wear shorts even on the hottest summer days, because when people saw my plaques, they'd always ask what was wrong, and I didn't want to talk about it. I tried many treatments over the years and just had failure after failure.

The best part is people don't make comments anymore!
Then, in 2006, I began to experience joint pain in my hips and knees along with my skin symptoms. That's when my doctor started me on a new treatment. It was wonderful not to have to sweep the bed of flaked skin every morning! And now, I can wear shorts while tending to my 75 rose bushes without feeling embarrassed! The best part is people don't make comments anymore. In fact, I enjoy being outside and in public as much as possible.
Plaque psoriasis patient Adam
Adam
Outreach director enjoying family time
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It started with pain in my big toe. I thought I just injured it. Then I noticed that I had psoriasis on my scalp. I've had intermittent psoriasis since I was in college. But when I moved from Ireland to Florida with my wife and children, my psoriasis worsened.

I went to a dermatologist who recommended a treatment, but my insurance company pushed back. That meant for a full year I was only able to treat with topical creams, light therapy, and some other medications. Some of the treatments helped, but I wasn't getting the results I wanted.

I hope talking about my story can help others.
Then, finally, in September 2013, my insurance approved the original treatment my dermatologist prescribed, and that's when things started to change. I began to see improvement in my skin. After treatment, I could do things that I hadn't been able to do for a long time.
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