‘Taking that first step is worth it’

| Steve Bieler

Name: Nedra Mansour
Dearborn, Michigan
Age: 23
Diagnosis: Psoriasis
Past treatments: Topicals, wraps
Current treatment: Humira (adalimumab)
Status: Improved

Three years ago, Nedra Mansour was busy. At 20 years old, she was a student and a former model with long-range plans to enlist in the Navy and open a holistic wellness spa. She was engaged and planning her wedding.

But Mansour was also in the middle of what she called “a rough couple of years.” She suffered from recurring strep throat. She had her gall bladder removed in 2013, which she believes weakened her immune system. She described the preparations for her wedding as “overwhelming.”

“One day, I woke up, and I was about 80 percent covered,” Mansour said. “My grandmother has psoriasis, so I knew exactly what it was.”

She went to the emergency room of a local hospital, where she was officially diagnosed with psoriasis. The best treatments the hospital could offer her, though, were topicals and the inconvenience of saltwater wraps, she said. 

“It made the pain better, but my psoriasis was still so visible,” Mansour said.

She went to her family doctor, who gave her more topicals. “It was helping, but making my skin really sensitive, and it wasn’t changing much.”

Finally, Mansour saw a dermatologist, who started her on light therapy. “Light therapy helped, but my skin wasn’t clear,” she said. “I went through all the steps, but there was no one with all the answers.”

In addition to treating her psoriasis, Mansour faced the challenge of telling her fiancé. “In the end, telling him made our relationship stronger,” she said. “The ones who mind won’t matter, and the ones who matter won’t mind. Anyone who loves you will love you as you are. The people who you’re ashamed to show yourself to don’t need to be there at all.”

Connecting with NPF

By 2016, Mansour had lost her health insurance, stopped treatment and was no longer seeing a health care provider. Figuring she had nothing to lose, she completed a short quiz as part of our Psoriasis Awareness Month Week 1 challenge.

The quiz offered participants the opportunity to be contacted by someone from the Patient Navigation Center — the world’s first personalized support center for people impacted by psoriatic disease. Patient Navigator Ashley Lindberg was assigned to Mansour.

“Ashley explained all my options in ways I could understand, rather than telling me what I should do,” Mansour said. “Ashley asked me who I am and what my struggles are. It was like she knew what I was feeling. Her encouragement and knowledge made me push forward. Ashley’s message hit the nail on the [head and] made me say, ‘I am going to find a solution.’”

Thanks to the Patient Navigation Center, Mansour finished her Medicaid application and got health insurance again.

Now 23, she’s happily married, majoring in business administration with a minor in dance.

She’s currently on the biologic Humira (adalimumab), which brought her psoriasis under control. She says that Humira has been “very successful” for her.

“Life feels easier. I feel like I have my life back,” Mansour said. “Before, I was so consumed with my disease that I wasn’t myself. I felt like my body was hijacked, and now I’ve done a 180. I feel more encouraged, more positive, stronger.

“It’s hard to take the first step, but you can’t lock yourself in a bubble,” she advised. “Be strong. Don’t be a victim. Your disease isn’t all you are — you are still the student, author, girlfriend. Taking that first step is worth it. Having Ashley at the Patient Navigation Center extend a welcoming hand — that alone was enough for me.”

To begin working with an NPF Patient Navigator, send us a question, email us or call us (800-723-9166, option 1). Any question – big or small – we’re here for you. 

 


Driving Discovery, Creating Community

This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. See how far we’ve come with this timeline of NPF’s history. But there’s still plenty to do, and we can’t do it without you! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funding to promote research into better treatments and a cure by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or even create your own DIY event. Contact our Patient Navigation Center for free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today! Together, we will find a cure.

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