Can the treatment live up to the hype?
Below, he chronicles his treatment journey as it unfolds. With his pictures and journal entries.
Here’s how to navigate his journey.
His postings are on this page in chronological order, starting with his initial thoughts before he started the new treatment. You can also go right to his most recent Journal Entry.
Ask him a question or make a comment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Day Zero – first dose of his new treatment
Day 7 – one week into treatment
Day 14 – two weeks into treatment
Day 21 – three weeks into treatment
Most Recent Journal Entry
But enough preliminaries: let’s get to our psoriasis patient!
Pre-“Day Zero” thoughts. June 5, 2020.
Hi, I’m your tour guide on this journey, but I’m also the one we’ll be gawking at: the psoriasis patient. We are calling the day I will start the new treatment Day Zero, but let’s get some initial thoughts out of the way during this pre-game show.
I’m a private person. It seems kids all want to be famous. I want to be anonymous. It will be embarrassing to share my thoughts and pictures in the weeks ahead, so I am not using my real name. Sorry. I Googled “masculine names” and came up with Thor and Maximus, but they say I don’t need a name at all.
Psoriasis has been a daily negative in my life since my 20s. I’m now well on my way to tripling that age, so I know psoriasis well. I have had as much as 90% of my body covered in the past; I think the medical term for that is “pretty *%^~ bad.”
For many years now, my body has been more than 50% covered, even while being treated with two major medications. Doctors have urged me many times to try a new treatment, but I was afraid to rock the boat. For one, my psoriatic arthritis has been completely under control. And since my face, bottoms of feet, scalp, and a fourth area you can probably guess, were generally not under siege by the Red Menace in recent years, I accepted the >50% coverage elsewhere as a curse that I must accept. [Editor’s Note: Links are added by Psoriasis Cure Now.]
Until recently. I was hearing about some amazing results people were having from new treatments, or by simply continuing to try things until they got great results. Then I had an epiphany of sorts, realizing that psoriasis hadn’t just hurt me when I was a young man – it is, RIGHT NOW, by messing with my psyche and self-image, STILL adversely affecting me professionally and personally, while also leading me to live in a less healthy fashion in other ways. I think I had been in denial about that. [The picture of my hand is from 2017. I came not to enjoy shaking hands long before COVID.]
(By the way, that right there was the really profound and personal paragraph – it probably won’t get that heavy again over the next three months – so feel free to re-read that and ask yourself, if you have psoriasis, whether that paragraph might have some resonance for you. Then again, maybe it’s just me! But wow, when that realization hit me, it really hit me hard.)
Just like that, after years of resistance, I did a 180 and now I am ready to see if I can reduce this crazy amount of psoriasis that I have come to endure as my normal.
One final point: I am blessed to have good health insurance. That means I have no horror story to share with you about trying to get my new treatment. The entire process felt like I would guess it feels for George Clooney when he calls down to a hotel lobby saying he needs more towels. From doctor’s staff to drug company customer service rep to insurer, everyone moved very quickly and pampered me – it felt almost weird. But in all seriousness, I feel terribly for the millions of people NOT in my position on that. Good insurance is a great big blessing.
There you have it: my long introduction to set the stage for what is to come. In the future, I will try to type fewer words.
See you on Monday – er, “Day Zero” – June 8th.
Signed, Maximus Thor
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Day Zero. June 8, 2020.
The deed is done. I have begun my new treatment. In fact, it has been several hours, and I can officially announce that there has been NO CHANGE in my psoriasis. Hey Psoriasis Cure Now – maybe having everyone come here on Day Zero was not so bright! I have nothing to report!
I’m just joshing. I actually feel pretty good! I didn’t turn green the moment I started. So there’s that. But after 15 years on the same treatments, I’m actually going for it. And I accidentally let my mind ask myself: What if this actually works? Let’s face it: there is MAJOR hype going on these days about psoriasis treatments, on TV, and on the internet. (cough cough psoriasiscurenow cough cough) And while I’m pretty much of the view that I will always have tons of psoriasis, it is hard not to let yourself imagine, just for a moment, what life would be like if the psoriasis went away.
I’m pausing here to go eat an apple. This is a good place to put a bunch of pictures – sorry – just to set the scene for where I am as this begins – and to remind myself why I demanded to be anonymous! All of these were taken between five and nine days ago.
OK, I’m back now – the apple was tasty. But, um, still no change in my psoriasis.
This is reminding me of the first time I planted vegetable seeds as a kid, and then 20 minutes later I was totally tired of being a farmer because nothing had happened. Or in third grade when the class got a Venus Flytrap, and then we were trying to get the one solitary fly, buzzing around the classroom at warp speed, to sit on this tiny plant by the window.
Bottom line: I’m glad I’m trying it, but what’s on YouTube? Nothing to see here. Join me in a week for a quick update!
[EDITOR’S NOTE: “Nothing to see here?” Surely he jests. Click here for the latest psoriasis news.]
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Day 7. June 15, 2020. Kim Kardashian’s Psoriasis Journey, and Mine.
Before I give you my update, I want to break some news here. It’s not even up on the Psoriasis Cure Now News section yet, it’s so hot off the presses. Turns out Kim Kardashian West – still more famous than I am, but just wait ‘til my abs go viral – talked about groin psoriasis on her show the other night. (Side message to Kim: Been there, done that. Hang in there. That, too, shall pass.) Documenting her psoriasis journey on her family’s TV show, she even unveiled some gizmo that directs ultraviolet light right where it’s, um, needed. Here she is trying it on her face. Kim, if you are reading this, stay tuned. I have a feeling that my new treatment can blow your gizmo out of the water.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is a piece we published a while back on our mixed feelings about Kim Kardashian’s public battle with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.]
OK, now back to my psoriasis journey.
As you may have heard, the tentative plan is for me to update you folks about my treatment for 12 to 16 weeks, so we’ll know one way or another how I did.
You gotta laugh: it’s Day 7 and it is already EXTRAORDINARY!
It’s making me want to put an exclamation point after every sentence!
Holy Toledo! (OK, I’ll stop with the exclamation points.)
This is one of the more impressive things I’ve witnessed. My skin is smoother than it’s been in many, many years. My neck, behind my ears, my belly, my back: it’s simply unbelievable.
Did I mention it’s just Day 7 of my new treatment?
I’m a lousy photographer, but there are already visual changes – can you tell? Less redness. The psoriasis is more flush with the skin, it’s flattened a bunch already. Wow.
I should not get too excited, obviously, at this early point. Over the years, my psoriasis has taken any treatment as a challenge to flare worse, and to overcome the treatment. My psoriasis is a ferocious competitor, and while I may have lulled it into complacency in recent years with my resignation, we’ll have to see if it doesn’t just amp up on Red Bull now and start fighting back.
Even incredibly old patches that have been with me for years – thicker ones that have been resistant to treatment on the outside/back of my knees, or the outside of my wrists, already at one week they are visually – and to the touch – improved. You could say it “augurs well” for the days ahead. (But then again, why would you use that phrase?)
Let me wind this down with something strange: the psoriasis seems to be in massive retreat near the top of me, but not so much on my legs. Under my chin – baby soft skin already. My arms – you compare the two photos and decide. But my legs – that is more of a struggle. And my feet – nothing to write home about.
Today you can see my arms and under my chin. But let’s drag this out like Dancing with the Stars. Tomorrow, you can see the belly and chest. Hint: you will not want to miss that – and no, not just you fans of the Pillsbury Dough Boy!
Then on Wednesday, I’ll post legs.
Any questions or comments, please submit them below, and I’ll reply in a future post.
To those of you with psoriasis that burdens you every day, please check out the pics tomorrow … although today’s pics might have already caught your attention.
Something crazy-good seems to be happening to me. Let’s hope it happens to all of us, soon.
ADDENDUM 6/16: Here are two photos. One is from five days before my new treatment began, and the other is from seven days after my new treatment began. Can you tell which is which? Holy Hannah!
ONE MORE ADDENDUM 6/17: I want to share one last set of before and after photos from my Day 7 photo shoot, as compared to photos taken in the days just before Day Zero. These pictures reflect my point that the psoriasis seems to be improving from the top down.
However, that being said, I was laughing out loud as I picked these photos – not just because the Rockettes’ jobs are secure (young folks can Google the Rockettes) – but because I was sort of complaining about the condition of my legs until I saw what my legs looked like just a week or two ago. It made me realize I am already forgetting how terrible my skin had been for years! How greedy I have become! After the spectacular improvement of my neck and chest, I’m kvetching about the merely impressive improvement – AFTER ONE WEEK – in my legs! Oh how I need to work on gratitude…. Anyway, I think if you click on these pictures, you will get bigger versions. Just what you wanted, right?
And one final programming note: in response to a question (the form below actually works, so ask away!), Psoriasis Cure Now and I have realized we should make a clarification about my treatment. We will do that on June 22, Day 14. So you’ll just have to come back for that. (It’s no big deal or I would tell you right now.) See you on Day 14!
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Day 14. June 22, 2020. “Holy Moly, Batman.”
I am going to write in a subdued fashion today because someone joked that perhaps I was over-caffeinated in my previous post(s). The point is well-taken: I don’t want my words to obscure what is happening to my skin.
It is Day 14. After decades with psoriasis on more than half of my body, I am two whole weeks into my new treatment.
So I urge you to click on these thumbnail photos to get the ridiculously large versions. Fourteen days. It seems almost impossible. I’m desperately resisting the urge to go ALL CAPS here. So again, I’ll lay off the ALL CAPS if you will click on these three photos.
What do you think? Y’all have not crashed the internet yet sending me comments and questions, so I invite you once again to do so. (The form is at the end of this post.)
Since no one has invented touch-a-vision yet – and yet my kid complains that “everything’s already been invented” (allegedly making it harder for him to become a billionaire) – I will try to describe how my skin now feels, even though description is not my strong suit. (Confession: I sometimes skim over long passages of description in books.) I simply cannot believe how soft the skin is on my stomach and back, on my arms and my legs. I guess after 30 years, you can actually forget the feeling.
Now I could shake hands during a business meeting – were those still things in the age of COVID – without the other person instinctively glancing at my hand to wonder why they are clasping sandpaper.
I could go to anyone to cut my hair right now – if I could get an appointment as they re-open for business – and my neck and behind my ears and my scalp would not draw their attention or concern. (I’ve had the same person cut my hair for more than a decade to avoid the awkward, first-visit-with-a-new-hair-stylist so many of us dread.)
I’ve also never had a massage in my life, although that too, while finally within my grasp, may be obsolete in the COVID-19 world. [EDITOR’S NOTE: here is our latest update on COVID-19, psoriasis, and what you need to know.]
Below the knees and on my feet there is still a little roughness and more than a few dots of psoriasis, but my calves, which had had fairly thick plaques for many years, are basically smooth.
I chuckle writing that my middle-aged skin could be “smooth” – but it is true. Baby soft, even! (Random thought from a non-scientist: I wonder if psoriasis helps keep our skin soft underneath?!) [EDITOR’S NOTE: we’ll have to get back to you on that one.]
I’m trying not to get used to this, because I do fear it could be a passing thing. What if I get used to having a smallish amount of psoriasis, and it comes raging back?
Still, I would not trade this for the world. It feels so great. If they ever reopen our malls, I’m going to buy a black shirt. (Note to the uninitiated: many of us with psoriasis complain about not feeling comfortable wearing black – sweaters, dresses, whatever – due to visible flaking from scalp or neck psoriasis.)
As they say, your results may vary, but if you could achieve anything close to what I am feeling, you, too, might want to go ALL CAPS. I wish I could hug and thank all the scientists and doctors who invented this treatment. Totally extraordinary.
A few more things. First, an omission/clarification that will probably be also added near the top of the page:
I started the new treatment on Day Zero, and went off my old biologic the requisite weeks before that. But I continue to take 15 mg of methotrexate each week, as I have for decades. My doctors thought it unwise to change too much at once. The plan is to phase out the methotrexate after we are sure that the new treatment is working. Beyond that, I do nothing for my psoriasis – no topical steroids, for example – though I used to apply over the counter lotions like knock-off Vasoline lotion every day. Even that is not urgent anymore.
I should also mention that I am feeling occasional minor pain in my hip area. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but it’s worth noting. My doctors say it could take a couple of months for the new treatment to get up to speed working on my psoriatic arthritis (which, to the credit of my old biologic, was completely under control before this switch).
And there you have it: I managed to get through writing this Day 14 entry without acting all crazy/excited. But a secret closing note to fellow psoriasis patients: just between us, I am totally freaking out about how amazing this is, with my psoriasis disappearing like some David Copperfield trick. My kids used to say that Snapchat filters could probably make my psoriasis disappear from photos. But this is like air-brushing in real life. Unreal, for real.
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Day 21. June 29, 2020. “Transformed.”
It has now been three weeks since I began my new treatment.
My body has, to lift a word from this website’s home page, been “transformed.”
It’s astonishing how rapidly and thoroughly it has occurred.
In seemingly the blink of an eye, decades of psoriasis have pretty much just disappeared.
Here are pictures of my shins: 5 days before treatment, 7 days after treatment began, and 21 days into treatment. [Click on a photo here and below to see a bigger version of it. Then click back on your browser to get back here.] Not bad, eh?
And here are my arm pics. Where did all the psoriasis go? It’s fascinating to me how smooth my skin could be, so soon after having been so scratchy. (On Thursday, I’ll show you my calves – usually a psoriasis-heavy spot for me.)
I’m going to close with a story. I was at the beach several years ago, wearing a swim shirt, and looking around at other beach-goers to pass the time. (I wore a swim shirt not to limit my UV exposure, but rather to limit people staring at my extensive psoriasis.)
As I looked around at other people, I suddenly thought to myself: Why do I cover up my psoriasis, when all these people have their own – how shall we put it? – less-than-perfect elements of their own physical appearance?! How did they have the courage to enjoy themselves just as they are, and I was hiding behind a shirt I didn’t want to wear?
So I took my swim shirt off, went into the ocean, and never wore one again.
After that, did I ever think people were looking askance at my psoriasis, perhaps wondering if it was contagious? Sure. But it no longer had significant power over me.
(Please note that I totally support those who choose to cover up their psoriasis, as I had long done. It’s a personal decision. Do what works for you.)
The touching sentiments (ha) of the last five paragraphs notwithstanding, I am going to the beach this summer, COVID-19 or not, to walk around basically psoriasis-free and to bask in the glory of baby-soft skin!
ADDENDUM 7/2: Let’s take a look at my calves, shall we? (Sorry, I’m trying to come up with every ridiculous way to introduce such photos.)
I’m not sure why my calves are a long-standing psoriasis target, but at Day 21, they are doing pretty well compared to the days before I started this treatment. (Click on the thumbnail photos to see a larger version that shows every pore on my calf. Then hit your browser’s back button to return here.) Can you tell which is five days before starting the new treatment, which is seven days in, and which is after 21 days of treatment?
I’m really starting to get used to the new me. It feels good.
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Questions or comments for our psoriasis patient? Submit them here for him to address in a future journal entry.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why is Psoriasis Cure Now doing this?
Our core message for 2020-21 is “New psoriasis treatments are transforming lives.” Now we have a compelling story that we can have fun with – it is summer, after all – while using it as an educational tool.
Also, given all the phony/inaccurate information out there on YouTube and social media about psoriasis treatments, we could not resist the opportunity to follow the treatment of someone for whom we could confirm everything with his dermatologist.
When will new entries be posted?
The current plan is each Monday. We also announce new updates on this page, and via Facebook and Twitter.
Will the results of one person really show us what would happen for others who use the same treatment?
The answer is: no. But there is educational value – and power – in seeing and hearing from an actual patient how she (or he in this case) is affected emotionally during the course of treatment. And now that we are seeing results, we think it should give hope to everyone whose life is negatively affected by psoriasis.
We will step in occasionally with “editor’s notes” to provide context or provide facts and figures – but with a light touch – as this is intended to be a human story, not an academic treatise.
What treatment is he using?
Given that this is just one person, and thus not a fair representation either to this treatment or the ones not being chronicled here, we decided in advance simply to say that he is starting with a biologic or small molecule (pill) treatment. These are the treatments that are revolutionizing treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and these are the ones we are putting the focus on with his Psoriasis Journey.
He will also continue taking 15mg of methotrexate each week, as he has for decades. Once it is clear his new treatment is working on both his psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, his doctors plan to wean him off of methotrexate.
We know people may try to guess which biologic or small molecule he is using, but no one who knows is telling. We think it is more fair that way.
Remember that all FDA-approved treatments are on the market because they have been shown in clinical trials to help a lot of people.
Is this being sponsored by a drug company?
No. That said, over the years, Psoriasis Cure Now has been generously supported – financially and in other ways – by thousands of individuals and families, as well as by several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. All the funds we received were in “unrestricted educational grants.” In other words, we just “did our thing” and the contributions allowed us to reach more people and have a greater impact.
What if we have further questions?
You can always contact us directly, or head over to our Facebook page and join the discussion there.
I might be willing to let Psoriasis Cure Now follow my treatment journey.
Sounds interesting. Contact us, and let’s start a dialogue about it.
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