It has been just over two weeks, and it's time for an update.
There's an obvious question here: Have there been any results?
The short answer is, "yes." The long answer is "I think so." I'm not supposed to see any major results until I get the second dose in a couple weeks. This is partially because I'm still in the initial stages of treatment, which means I'm getting a starter dose (2 full doses ~4 weeks apart instead of the standard 12 weeks) so the drug has a chance to build up in my system. It's also because your skin takes about a month to resurface itself. So even if the treatment were 100% effective on day one (and it isn't), I really shouldn't be clear for at least another 2 weeks anyway.
Here's what I have noticed. Pretty much everywhere I have psoriasis, the plaques have become thinner. They're not disappearing, but they're more pink or flesh tone than white or silver. It seems like they're not replenishing themselves as quickly, which is good. There are also some areas which have shown slightly more progress, namely my scalp and upper arms. In both cases, it looks like the plaques are starting to disappear. There is some normal, healthy skin visible in places where there used to be only psoriasis plaques.
More impressively, there were a few places where I noticed I was either developing a new plaque or an existing plaque was starting to fade away. In both cases, the plaques have more or less disappeared. It seems like my body has at least stopped attacking itself in new places, which is also good.
As a quick side note, my joints (especially fingers) feel a bit better. It's a subjective measure, but it's worth noting.
My mood is cautiously optimistic. For a few days, it seemed like I was noticing significant changes in my condition daily. Progress has slowed somewhat in some areas, and possibly just outright stalled in others. My other concern is that I have changed my schedule recently, which has led me to take more frequent showers (sometimes multiple times a day) and to get a little more sun exposure (not a ton, but some). Both of these factors can improve psoriasis, at least temporarily. I'm somewhat concerned that some of the improvement I'm seeing is from these sources rather than the treatment, though I'm probably just over-analyzing the whole thing.
I think the real reason I'm so cautious in my optimism is that I've found that I'm emotionally invested in this process. I initially signed up for the study because they advertised cash compensation. While I'm not broke, a little extra money sounded nice. The free treatment was a bonus, but not really my main concern. I'll say that I assumed they'd be paying more and that the trial would take place over a shorter period, but that's not really important at this point.
My psoriasis has never really bothered me the way it bothers some people. It was tough as a child, and I got fired from a serving job in college because customers kept complaining about a plaque on my forearm, but it hasn't bothered me day-to-day. Unlike a lot of psoriasis sufferes, I don't really change my behavior because of my condition.
But after signing up for the trial, it took the research group a while to get back in touch with me. Over this time, I first realized how nice it would be if I started treatment and it actually worked. The prospect of becoming symptom free was very real, and it appealed to me in a way I hadn't expected. I'm genuinely interested in being symptom free. I've begun to consider aspects of my life that could change if this trial is a success. I've noticed subtle changes I've made because of my psoriasis that I hadn't even realized until recently. I used to be a swimmer, for example. While I quit for completely unrelated reasons, namely burnout, I think I may not have considered starting again because of my skin.
At this point, I'll be upset if the treatment fails miserably. It's unwise to get too invested until more results are in.
Bigtony United States. June 30 2012 12:34. Posts 901