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Patient Stories


Sometimes hearing from other people who are going through the same thing you are can help you stay positive. This section brings you stories about patients who know what it's like to live with psoriasis. You’ll also find stories from people who have psoriatic arthritis, which is a related condition that commonly includes skin symptoms and joint pain. Read on and learn from their struggles, strategies, and successes. 

GINA’S STORY

Showing skin with psoriasis
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.  I didn't want anyone to see my skin, and I had no confidence socializing with others.  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.
Plaque psoriasis patient Gina

As I got older, I just became more and more frustrated as my symptoms worsened.  I went to a dermatologist who had me try several types of treatment, 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 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, and have the confidence to encourage others as a cheerleading coach for the Special Olympics.

ROBERT’S STORY

Confidence with psoriasis
Robert’s plaque psoriasis began on his chest, then spread to his elbows, down his legs, and across his back. It never affected his work or his hobbies, but his plaques were uncomfortable and itchy. They also made him nervous to wear shorts or go swimming. “People would think it was contagious,” Robert says. He tried some topicals, but plaques still covered much of his body.

Plaque psoriasis patient Robert

After talking about his options with his dermatologist, he changed his treatment. Robert says his plaques have improved and now cover much less of his body. “I go out a lot more now because I’m not embarrassed.” Robert even joined his wife on a company trip to the Bahamas, where he spent lots of time on the beach with her and her coworkers.

DAWN’S STORY

Even with psoriatic arthritis, mom can play again
“High school is difficult enough without having flaky plaques on half your face,” Dawn says. Dawn’s skin symptoms appeared when she was around 11 years old. Much later, as a mother of three, she began to notice swelling and soreness in her ankles and wrists. “I would get stuck sitting on the floor if I was watching a movie with the kids,” she says.

Dawn Picture
Dawn was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at age 36 and she tried many different treatments before she and her doctor found the one that worked for her. Dawn’s skin is now much clearer. “I used to avoid doing things that could be painful,” she says. “But now, I don’t.” In fact, she joined a fitness class that she goes to three times each week. She says she does have joint pain and stiffness once in a while after exercising, but she is back to being active with her children, something she had worried was a thing of the past.

BOB’S STORY

Back in action, with psoriatic arthritis
Bob was a firefighter for six years, before he was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. When he started having trouble passing his physical tests, he began wondering if his condition would force him to change his career. “I was coming to terms with the fact that the condition was winning,” he said. Even though only a small amount of his body had plaques, his lesions cracked and bled. He also had
Plaque psoriasis patient Bob

terrible pain in his hands, shoulders, hips, feet, and knees. "When you can’t hold your newborn grandkids, it’s a horrible feeling.”

After finding a treatment that worked for him, Bob felt a significant improvement in his symptoms. His fingers, which used to look like sausages, have gone back to normal. He’s even able to continue fighting fires. He no longer has to rely on other firefighters to carry his equipment. He’s also able to hold other important cargo: his grandchildren. “Now I can hold them, play ball with them, and hug them without pain.”

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