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A red, inflamed hand itching the other while flowers sprout from the arm where the skin has healed.

Remission? For How Long?

In my journey, I didn't know what remission meant when talking about psoriasis, let alone how long it was supposed to last. Now I know more about psoriasis remission and that psoriasis has a natural waxing and waning. There are times when your psoriasis will be in a flare. This means that it is angry, red, scaly, itchy, possibly cracked, bloody and very dry. During a remission, what once was is angry is now a light pink, and everything reverses. You may even feel like you are pale compared to the irritation that has been there.

How long does psoriasis remission last?

How long remission lasts is anywhere from a few days, to weeks, or even months. Some people are lucky enough to have it last a year or more. My case happens to be very stubborn. I have had psoriasis nearly 22 years before I experienced a remission. My first remission lasted about three weeks. To say I felt terror was an understatement. When I called my doctor she told me that it was normal to feel this way. Mentally, I couldn't understand what was happening. In the past, when I woke up clearer there was a very bad reason for it. For instance, I had a very severe infection that had traveled through my blood stream making me extremely ill. In that case I was actually hospitalized for a week. Is this another episode of my immune system being suppressed by a biologic medication and it is turning into a very acute infection?

My dermatologist talked to me and explained that the medication has helped. She tells me to try to relax and enjoy the waning period. After that, I did try to relax. Some things change in remission like not needing as much topical medicated creams and ointments, which was nice. Just about the time when my thoughts were changing to thinking this may be a good thing, I noticed that the psoriasis was starting to reform where the pale patches were.

Starting a new medication

Unfortunately, I didn't have another clearing for several more months. I start using an at home biologic that I inject monthly. After a few side effects like nausea and fatigue, I watched as my skin stopped flaking. After a few more weeks, the large areas of plaque begin reducing. Then one day, I woke up as I had before and there was nothing but pale pink areas like a shadow of all the psoriasis that was left. When I contacted my dermatologist, she was delighted with the news.

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But since this was similar to before, my next thought is to run through a checklist in my head if I felt ill or weirder than usual. Everything seems to check out okay. Over the next few weeks, I sort of am hesitant to believe it could be a remission. When the time extends to 6 months I talked to the dermatologist. We both celebrate the occasion with a high five and a hug.

On occasion, I do get a few patches on my back just above my bottom and even some patches on my ankles. But overall, I'm feeling pretty good about the results I thought the few patches and my scalp are pretty well controlled.

Noticing some itching

It was well into the last part of my second year of remission when I noticed that I had some itching. When the itching started, my skin it became flaky, leading back to cracking and dryness. Mentally, I am disappointed and sad the remission is ending. I feel a deep feeling of "well, that was the end of that". My doctor said that she has another biologic for me to try.

I bet you want to know if it works for me? It does! I am now four years in remission. In fact the patches on my ankles and low back are gone now too. All that is left is my scalp and it is tightly controlled with medicated shampoo. For the first time ever I truly feel like there is less then 5% coverage and there are some days it is literally only my scalp.

Will my remission last?

Yes, sometimes, I do worry that remission will not last, but where disappointment was is now hope. Back when I worried that I would go back to my 22 years of 97% coverage. Now, I know from the hard work and diligence of pharmacies and doctors there is most likely going to be something else I can try. Though I think about going backwards I am able to be grateful for the time that I have with this remission.

When I worry I have began to retrain myself to relax and think of where I was  and to where I am now  Now, my dermatologist and I have back up plans. She says, back up plans are a big part of this. It doesn't mean it's over just maybe not right now. That's where the plan kicks in. Something new. Communication with my doc is key and following up on our plans is necessary. Extreme worrying is no longer a part of that mix.

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