Afsah was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was a baby. In her story she discusses adapting to life after finding a successful treatment, and how channelling her feelings into a creative outlet has helped her to accept her skin, and herself.
Hello my name is Afsah Hussain, originally from Pakistan, born in France and currently living in the United Kingdom.
On 24th June 2019 I shared my story with the Psoriasis Association where I briefly shared my bullying experiences and the pain I experienced. Today I'd like to share my experience in more depth, and also give an update on my lifestyle now and share some of my accomplishments.
I was born in June 2001 and was first diagnosed with psoriasis at 3 months as a baby. I started my treatment with Dovobet, which is a steroid cream. Alongside using different creams, I was also taking medications such as acitretin and methotrexate.
These medicines and creams helped my psoriasis to stop from spreading but some of them had side effects such as feeling dizzy, headaches, weight gain or weight loss and hair loss. Alongside these things these medicines caused me to have many mood swings.
In 2019 my medications completely stopped working which meant the psoriasis was able to spread very fast and meant my body was 100% full of psoriasis that caused me to stop daily activities such has moving my hands, fingers and legs. My whole body was inflamed and I still remember saying to mom "I feel like my body is a hard rock wanting to break".
I was hospitalised and the doctors decided to stop all medicines and just apply liquid paraffin and then they were discussing about different options to take, since I turned 18 they came to the conclusion of giving biologics.
They decided to put me on Tremfya and I am currently taking this biologic. When I started taking it, within two days my psoriasis began to reduce and slowly I was able to move my legs, and within a week I was able to walk again.
After getting out of the hospital Tremfya was working fine, I was able to wear half sleeves and wear makeup for the first time, I was able to be normal and like some of my friends I was able to go out comfortably and live my dreams.
While I was enjoying not having psoriasis and becoming a normal human being and making friends, I was also missing psoriasis and I missed the attention, love and joy I got from my family and friends. Now there was a new set of rules to follow. Before I was always in pain and that’s why I never understood the life I was meant to be living, this meant I had no clue of the basics of life such as how to pray religiously. Sometimes I missed my psoriasis but the minute I saw a little bit of psoriasis it would give me a flashback to 2019 .
I found it hard to develop in to not having psoriasis and not visiting doctors, I just felt like the doctors took away a part of me; all I knew for 18 years of my life was having psoriasis flare ups, getting bullied, going to hospital then having psoriasis flare ups. Because of this cycle I couldn't focus on my education or my goals.
In 2020 I decided to make the pain into a passion, I decided to start a podcast, launch a small business and write a book. Throughout all of these different projects I shared my pain and experience of psoriasis.
My podcast was about pop culture, social issues, life experiences and my religion. In an episode called "psoriasis and me" I expressed how I felt living with psoriasis and living without psoriasis and after a few days I realised that there are a lot of people who experienced what I was experiencing. This episode helped me come to terms with not having psoriasis and that I am a normal human being even if I do have psoriasis.
My small business called "Afsahsdesigns" is a space where I turned my pain into art then I slowly started turning my artworks into jewellery and jewellery dishes. The brand’s goal is to make everyone feel beautiful no matter what illness you have.
"This is me" is a book I launched in late 2021, here I shared my life experiences and gave advice to anyone who is dealing with a long-term illness.
Today, I am happy to say that I have accepted not having psoriasis and learnt to adapt to daily activities, start work, go to college and am getting married to someone who has accepted me for me, but alongside all this I still miss psoriasis but I try to remember that not having psoriasis is also a blessing.
To all the psoriasis warriors I'd like to say firstly thank you for being so generous and supportive whenever I've needed support.
Secondly if you feel like you’re less than compared to the rest out there, that is not true, even if you have psoriasis or any skin conditions remember you are still normal and you are still beautiful/handsome.
I think God really loves me which is why I have faced these difficulties. Now that I have passed this test I feel I am being rewarded with a blessing.
Thank you for reading this and I hope I have inspired someone to love themselves and to keep fighting.