"I Can Wear Short Sleeves and Shorts"

Gabe S. lives near the Atlantic Ocean, but he can't recall a single time he went in for a swim between ages 25 and 46. That was because of the severe plaque psoriasis that covered 80% of his body.

"As a single parent, I would take my two kids to the beach and then go get something to drink or wait in the car," says the mid-50s architect who lives in New Jersey. "It was constant, 365 days a year. There are 25 years of my life where you can't find pictures of me."

Gabe's search for help

Gabe tried several treatment options, including phototherapy and topical creams and ointments, but they didn't help. The strain of living with the disease took its toll. "It transforms your life. I lost my 30s and 40s, all the good years to enjoy with kids," says Gabe.

Finding the right treatment

Eight years ago, after Gabe's dermatologist had run out of treatment options, he was referred to a new doctor who was confident that he could find a treatment that would work.

"I met this guy who absolutely changed my life," says Gabe. To start, the doctor connected Gabe to a clinical trial for a new biologic drug that cleared his psoriasis for two years. Biologics are designed to work with the immune system and slow down skin cell production.

Eventually, Gabe's doctor found a biologic drug on the market that Gabe could take regularly. Gabe's willingness to try new treatments paid off.

Today, his psoriasis is again clear and his life has changed in many ways. "There is nothing on me that shows I am a psoriasis patient," says Gabe. "Now, I can wear short sleeves and shorts."

Making your doctor your partner

According to Gabe, finding a doctor who refused to give up was key to his success.
"This guy took the time to say, 'The drugs are there, we just have to get you on a program,'" says Gabe. "Every few weeks, he will sit down, talk, shake my hand and ask me how I'm doing."

If you're stuck with a treatment that isn't working, Gabe suggests you sit down with your doctor and ask the following questions:

  • Are there other drugs out there that could help me?
  • Is there anybody else who can help me if you can't?
  • What would you do if you were in my shoes?

Thanks to his new treatment routine, Gabe is optimistic for the future: "The next generation of psoriasis patients won't live like we've had to live."

And, for those who have just been diagnosed with psoriasis, Gabe offers this advice: "Don't waste a single day. Find a doctor who will help because there are all these new drugs that work."

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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"I Can Wear Short Sleeves and Shorts"



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