How I Turned My Psoriasis Nightmare Into Something Positive

Life with psoriasis can be a constant challenge — from diagnosis to treatment. Just ask Bryony Bateman.

Bateman’s journey with psoriasis began in 2011 when, at the age of 16, she spotted red, scaly plaques on her stomach. Her doctor suggested that she might be having an allergic reaction to laundry detergent, but the rash-like symptoms persisted. So she started to do her own research on the Internet.

Trying to self-diagnose can be “very scary and daunting,” says Bateman, who works as a beauty therapist in Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom. “There’s a lot of scary photos because there’s a lot of information online.”

At first, Bateman thought she might have pityriasis rosea, a common skin disease that typically goes away on its own after a few weeks. When her symptoms continued for months, Bateman came across information about psoriasis; and she was alarmed to think that she may have the autoimmune disease.

“Looking up psoriasis photos absolutely terrified me,” she says. “All the pictures were so severe. I thought, ‘Am I going to end up like that?’ I was so scared.”

Bateman’s psoriasis symptoms remained mild for about three years, during which time she didn’t seek treatment. Once the symptoms spread — to her back, arms, legs, chest, and scalp — she went to a doctor and was diagnosed with psoriasis.

How Different Treatments Failed to Help

Early treatment attempts, including steroid creams and light therapy, were ineffective or even seemed to aggravate the condition. As Bateman’s confidence suffered, she credits her family and friends for helping her through the tough times.

“I may have seemed confident wearing a crop top that showed the psoriasis all over my belly, but that doesn't mean I wasn't struggling emotionally,” she says. “People who don't have a support system like mine and a positive mental attitude can really get themselves in a bad way.”

When Bateman was prescribed the immunosuppressive drug Restasis (cylcosporine), she had to constantly have her kidney and liver functions monitored because of the drug’s potential side effects. Next, she was put on Trexall (methotrexate); but the psoriasis continued to flare up.

“I used to sit and cry and think, ‘This is going to be my life,’” she recalls.

When the Psoriasis Took a Dangerous Turn

Then, in the summer of 2016, Bateman was hospitalized with erythrodermic psoriasis, a rare and potentially life-threatening form of the disease.

She was diagnosed the biologic Stelara (ustekinumab), which has been helping keep the psoriasis under control ever since.

Bateman decided to share her story with others, so she started a blog and a YouTube channel. “I used all my nasty experiences to educate and create more psoriasis awareness,” she says. “I want more people to know about psoriasis and how serious it can be.”

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