Brett, who works in cyber security and a dad-to-be, described life
with psoriasis in the early years as isolated and lonely. “It's the
personal and social side of my life that was mostly affected,” he
recalls, “I missed almost all of the things a regular teenager
experiences, I never developed those long term friendships that I see
others have with people from their school days or even early in their
working lives.” In his earlier years, Brett went through a bout of
depression and anxiety, as he could not see an end in sight to this disease.
Not knowing what he had or what he could do to change the situation
was extremely frustrating. “I wasn’t lucky enough to occasionally
experience a period of ‘clearing up’ as the seasons changed as some
people do,” he says. The plaque started appearing behind his knees and
on his elbows then all over his back, head, and nails. His frustration
escalated to anger when general practitioners would repeatedly tell
him that there will be no sign of relief of his symptoms and that it
was just about “making the itch and pain as bearable as possible,” he
says, shaking his head.
It took Brett over a year to find a doctor that gave him an accurate
diagnosis. Prior to that, he was met with general practitioners who
could not offer solutions that effectively manage his disease. His
persistent research and subsequent visits to multiple doctors led him
to try various potions, lotions, and dietary changes, all giving him
temporary relief. One method involved him scraping off the plaques
until it revealed a raw layer of skin and then applying steroid creams
and wrapping the body parts in Gladwrap before bed. He even invested
in a sunbed to allow himself more frequent UV treatments and tried acupuncture.
By chance, Brett was introduced to a dermatologist through a mutual
friend, “My brother’s girlfriend at the time was working with someone
who had psoriasis and was getting treated by this dermatologist,” says
Brett. Soon after, the dermatologist spoke to him about how to manage
his psoriasis disease.
His advice to those who are starting their journey with psoriasis is
to never give up and do not take ‘no’ for an answer. “Ask the hard
questions,” he chimes.
Brett is expecting his first son in November. “I’m looking forward
to playing sports with him outside and enjoy the outdoors,” he says
with a smile, “and with clear skin, I can do that now.”
Psoriasis, a medical condition that occurs when skin cells grow too
quickly, affects over 1.6 million Australians1. It ranges
in severity from a few scattered red, scaly plaques to involvement of
almost the entire body surface. It may progressively worsen with age,
or wax and wane in its severity2.
- Lebwohl M (2003) Psoriasis. Lancet 361:1197–204
AbbVie Pty Ltd. 241 O’Riordan Street, Mascot 2020.