"My Wife Tells Me Not to Worry"

It has been a journey for Roger G., who has been living with moderate plaque psoriasis for 15 years. Residing in the small town of Chehalis, WA, Roger developed psoriasis following a bad case of strep throat at age 35. He learned some tough lessons along the way, such as the importance of working closely with your doctor and following medication instructions.

Ultimately, Roger learned he had to take charge of his psoriasis treatment if he ever wanted to be comfortable in his own skin again.

The beginning

At first, the psoriasis came on gradually, appearing on Roger's left leg, and then on his right leg in the same spot. "It would come and go. It wasn't a constant," says Roger, who is married and has a young son.

A few years ago, however, the psoriasis spread to more than 40% of his body and Roger's life began to change in basic ways. "Going to the pool was embarrassing. I also like to go to the sauna a lot, but I wouldn't go if I had broken out on my hips," says Roger. It was clear he needed a new approach.

The importance of partnering with your doctor

While attending a hospital seminar on psoriasis in Olympia, WA, Roger learned about biologic drugs, which target the immune system and slow down the progression of skin cell production.

Roger started taking a biologic drug twice a week by self-injection. "It worked unbelievably well the first time and the psoriasis cleared up for nine months," he says.

But because Roger didn't work closely enough with a regular doctor to monitor his use of the drug, he didn't take it properly and the drug began to fail. "I wasn't educated enough on the medication to know you are supposed to stay on it and take a shot every three to four days when you first start," says Roger, "I would stop taking the medication for six to nine months until I had a breakout and then I would go back on the medication."

Back on track

The experience taught him that it was time to be more serious about partnering with his family doctor, who could help him with the biologic treatment. "He isn't a dermatologist, but he listens to me and he knows I have been dealing with this for 15 years. And, he's open to hearing my suggestions," says Roger.

In addition to the biologic treatments, Roger manages stress through meditation and takes vitamins and supplements. "My wife tells me not to worry about what people think and to wear shorts and tank tops," says Roger.

As for the psoriasis, Roger is seeing real progress. While he still has a few areas of psoriasis on his elbows, the top of his knuckles, and on his legs, he's not too concerned. "It wouldn't bother me to wear shorts now."

Tips for how to live well

Based on his life experience, Roger offers the following advice for people living with psoriasis:

  • Work closely with your doctor when taking any medication, especially biologics.
  • Do your own research and learn the specifics about how to take different medications.
  • Don't be tempted by Internet ads that sell untested treatments. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Find at least one person to whom you can open up.
  • Use meditation to relax and keep a positive attitude.

Have a story to share?
We’d love to hear your story! Email us your advice for coping with psoriasis at: Guides@healthmonitor.com

Published August 2011

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