Olivia C's Story

Nineteen year old Olivia was diagnosed with psoriasis ten months ago when it felt like the condition had taken over her life. Here she describes the impact of having psoriasis on her hands, and how medication has helped her to manage.

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My name is Olivia Cheshire. I am currently 19 years of age. I was diagnosed with auto-immune disease about 10 months ago now. For years before I was diagnosed I was every month in and out of the doctors with infections on my hands. They thought it was ring worm. And I was constantly given antibiotics. I was going to work every day with cotton gloves on and doused in Aveeno or Fucibet cream.

They then wrote to Dermatology and asked for me to be seen. When I was seen I cried so much because finally we were getting somewhere! I hadn’t quite prepared myself for what they were going to say. And on that day I was diagnosed with psoriasis and alopecia and auto immune disease.

I felt relief yet upset. They explained there was no cure for auto immune disease and that I would have to have treatments to try and help. I underwent 15 weeks of light therapy having to go to hospital twice a week for treatment. This took its toll as the weeks went by. I got to the highest dose very quickly and then I started to blister with every treatment. The psoriasis didn’t go away and kept getting infected again which delayed treatment because of the open wounds.

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From the day I was diagnosed I had to go to bed every evening wearing cotton gloves covered in creams. I felt so abnormal. At 19 years old I couldn't go out and be like the rest of my friends because I needed to be home to do my cream routine. My mum has to wash my hair because the pain of shampoo in the wounds was unbearable. When the nurses told me we were stopping light therapy due to it not working my heart broke. I felt like we were back to square one.

I am now on Ciclosporin 100mg a day, it’s not cleared completely but I can manage it so much better! Psoriasis in 2019 over took my life. I felt abnormal, self-consciousness, broken. I used to be scared of paying for things in case someone felt disgusted having to give me change on my bleeding weeping hands. I used to cry every night, why me. I used to cry about not being able to do normal things. But this year I am accepting psoriasis is a part of me. It’s not going to go away completely. It will always be there. But it makes me who I am. It’s made me strong.

Read more real-life stories from young people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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