I collaborated with Celgene Corporation to create this post. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.
I was 15 years old when my psoriasis spots took over.
My spots made such an angry and sudden appearance, so 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 recommended the treatments we should start with. We discussed multiple backup plans if/when Plan A did not work. The result of that was one of my first challenges with psoriasis was understanding that there was no magic solution. This was something I would likely live with forever. That was a lot for my teenage brain to manage.
I was diagnosed with psoriasis in 1998 and there were a lot of topicals on the market. There were gels, mousse, creams, and lotions. Everything was messy and greasy. For extra oomph at night, I’d apply topicals wrap myself in saran wrap to keep the meds on my skin. The topicals didn’t work and my doctor switched me to light therapy 3x a week in the office. I spent the first few years of my psoriasis diagnosis being treated with topicals and with light treatment. My treatments were solely focused on skin, therefore I only associated psoriasis with my skin. There was no discussion about lifestyle or mental health that I would have benefited from.
Over time, research discovered that psoriasis was an autoimmune disease. Many new treatment options have become available to treat psoriasis from within. It’s important for people to speak with their dermatologist to find a treatment plan that works for them. Now there are so many different treatment options to choose from. There are also a variety of forms – topicals, biologics, orals, etc., so you can decide what works best with your lifestyle and circumstances.
Celgene Inside Perspective Campaign
Celgene Corporation recently shared their INSIDE PERSPECTIVE campaign with me . It reminded me of my own journey to understand how living with psoriasis impacts my life daily. It took me over ten years to understand that psoriasis isn’t just a skin disease and 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. They get an inside perspective on each other’s lives – and their daily challenges living with plaque psoriasis.
Over the years, I’ve come to learn that I need to treat my psoriasis from within. I was letting psoriasis determine what I wore, how I felt about myself, and how I lived my life. In a flare, I hated meeting new people or meeting with clients. I would choose not to socialize in certain situations or go to certain places (like the beach).
With my current lifestyle as a commuting, full time 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. Lately, I’ve been mindful about ensuring 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. Luckily, I have an amazing support system in my family and friends who help me through the harder times. Alycia and Louise are instantly connected because they share the commonality of living with psoriasis. The psoriasis community includes some of the most incredible people I’ve met in my life. They just get it and there’s a focus on maintaining positivity and hope.
One of the most important ways that I can support fellow patients is being a part of the psoriatic community. I love there are campaigns focused on what its really like to live with psoriasis and that emphasize it’s not just a skin thing.