It is pretty rare to meet someone who has been able to stay on the same psoriasis treatment their entire life. Everything I have tried—light therapy, topicals, biologics, over-the-counter, etc—has worked for a while, but eventually failed to keep my symptoms at bay. Because of this, I have become skilled in the process of starting a new medication.
The Set Up
I always procrastinate on getting an appointment with my dermatologist when I notice my plaques popping up. It’s easy to rationalize that it may just be a flare, or I should just give it another week to make sure I’m not over reacting. Usually, however, this means that by the time I get in to the office, I am back to a severe state. I have learned that if my skin gets bad fast, I ask to talk to an advice nurse. I encourage you to not be afraid to ask for a sooner appointment if you are suffering.
Of course it is important to trust your dermatologist, but it is equally important to agree on a treatment that will work best with your lifestyle and comfort level. More than once I have had to negotiate with my dermatologist. Sometimes it could be that they are not familiar with a newer treatment option. In that case, do some research ahead of time on what you think would be best for you and print out information and resources to share with your provider. After all, you are the one that is responsible for administering your therapy and it affects your body.
Once a prescription is decided upon, then comes the daunting task of trying to get your insurance to agree with your and your provider’s decision. This part irritates me more than the itch of psoriasis. Don’t give up! If you are denied, you have options. You can contact the manufacturer and see if they have any programs, find out if your dermatologist has samples or appeal any denials. Anything good is worth fighting for.
Once I finally get my hands on any new medication, I get a mix of excitement and worry all at once. I can’t wait to start feeling better, but any new therapy comes with the unknown of how my body will react to it. This has gotten easier with each treatment; the excitement trumps the worry. The first time I experience a new therapy or treatment it can sometimes be uncomfortable. An example of this is my new medication I am trying is an open syringe, where my previous one was a ready click pen where I never even saw the needle. My initial reaction was “Oh.Heck.No.”
This is the best part of starting a new treatment. After getting through the nitty gritty, I get into the timeframe that my disease starts to go into remission. It makes all of the other hard stuff worth it, even if it doesn’t last. Some may disagree, but achieving clearance of my skin for any period of time is a win in my book. It motivates me to keep going. It gives me hope that we are getting closer to a cure. Bonus: I have become more calloused to the process and it has gotten easier with each change.