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Four years on

It was about four years ago now when I was first hit with the devastating news that I had psoriasis. "Psoriasis" what's that?" was the first question that I asked only to discover later how common the condition was. Finding out what I had, in one sense, was a relief because it meant that there actually was a reason for the pain in my joints (mainly elbows, knees and feet at that time], the constant feeling of tiredness and the strange patches on my knees which weren't going away.

After getting over the initial shock I didn’t realise at the time that my life would never be the same again. Both the joint and skin condition gradually got worse. This incidentally coincided with the stress of the job that I was doing at the time.

The next few months were like a dark tunnel when I went into a depressed state and was a misery to my family and those around me. I felt as if my life was gradually being stripped away. I had to give up two of the main joys in my life firstly playing guitar because the pain in my fingers and wrists was too much and secondly I sold my motorbike because I no longer had the strength in my arms and wrists needed to handle it. Added to this I could no longer do simple everyday thinks like run or walk without severe pain. It was hard to watch other parents playing with their children in the part and having a three year old son who couldn’t understand why he couldn’t jump on and be rough with his dad like the other kids. There were many occasions that I felt suicidal. I had not only lost my mobility but my self confidence, my physical strength, my will to live and I was worried that I would lost my job.

That was some time ago now and I'm pleased to say that I came through the tunnel. Since then I have moved, started a new job, and my wife gave birth to our second child. The arthritis has dramatically improved and I am at present leading a normal life, I am once again able to play guitar. I've bought a new bike. I can walk and even run comfortably and my son, he regularly takes advantage of me by jumping on me, All this has been without any treatment drugs except for anti-inflammatory tablets that I took in the earlier stages. My skin condition also worsened along with the arthritis and remained but at present my GP has recommended the coal tar treatment combined with ultraviolet. So far this has dramatically improved my skin condition.

I cannot give any evidence as to why my condition has improved so dramatically but I can point to several factors that have helped.

I have been watching my diet and cut down on red wine, caffeine and cheese, and I tend to watch my diet closely. It is also common for sufferers to have periods of remission without any particular reason. The simple truth is that there are still only a few facts about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and therefore there is much need for more research so that doctors, specialists, carers, and even the general public, can have a greater knowledge of the illness and its effects on sufferers.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors was the support and help I received from my family and close friends, and coming into contact with PAPAA who have all proved to be invaluable and to whom I will be eternally grateful.

There is hope for the psoriasis sufferer and it is not all doom and gloom. There can be periods of remission. I am realistic enough to realise that things could get worse again, but for now I am enjoying life and trying to live it to the full, realising that I can never take my good health for granted. I have also gained a great sense of comfort, purpose and satisfaction in knowing that I am in a much stronger and privileged position to help other sufferers who are going through similar.

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