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Getting to Know Drexel

Drexel opens up about self-confidence challenges and navigating the workplace with a chronic disease.

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself? What are your passions, hobbies, job?

My name is Drexel, but everyone on the internet and in the gaming world knows me as Drex. I work as the manager of a trading card game and sports card store. I am passionate about videogames and animals. When I am not at work, spending time with my wife, or taking care of my birds, I do live-streams on Twitch. Over the past 4 years, I've used my platform to raise awareness and money for a lot of different causes.

What type of psoriasis do you have, and how long have you experienced the disease?

I have plaque psoriasis and first started experiencing it on my scalp when I was young. In childhood and early adult life it would come and go, but about 8 years ago it became a constant thing and got worse.

Do you have PsA or other related diseases (comorbidities)?

I was also diagnosed with PsA about 5 years ago.

How would you describe your unique experience of having psoriasis?

My experience with psoriasis has been interesting to say the least, especially during the pandemic.

How does psoriasis impact your life day-to-day?

Psoriasis impacts nearly every aspect of my day-to-day life. Showers take longer. I can't wear certain colored shirts if I am having a bad flare up. If I am going somewhere where I will be around people I don't know, I may wear long sleeves if I don't want to attract extra attention to myself. I also pretty much always wear a hat when I am out in public because I am super self-conscious about the plaques on my forehead and scalp.

 

What areas of your life are most impacted by psoriasis?

My work life prior to the current job I have was most impacted by psoriasis/PsA. I worked in retail management. I couldn't wear a hat, so if I was in a bad flare, I would have to answer questions 10 times a day about what happened to my forehead. I was also on my feet 8+ hours a day, and if I was having a PsA flare, there were days where I just couldn't be as active as I needed to be. I had a wonderful HR person at the company I worked at who helped accommodate me in every way she could, so that made things easier, but it also made me feel a lot of guilt and like I was letting my co-workers down when I needed a special accommodation to complete a task. Now that I have a little bit of a more laid back, lower impact job, I think my psoriasis impacts my self-confidence the most.

Does psoriasis impact your relationships?

Psoriasis has impacted relationships that I have with people but not in a negative way. My wife is wonderful and supportive. I have also been able to connect with a lot of people on Twitch because of my psoriasis. I've used the platform to raise awareness about both visible and invisible chronic illnesses, and even if someone doesn't have psoriasis, they feel less alone knowing that other people out there are impacted by similar things.

What do you do to manage and treat your psoriasis?

In the past I have taken biologics and a few other medications. Currently I've been focusing on eating healthier and cleaner to help minimize flares. I have been working with a new rheumatologist since right before the pandemic started, and hopefully in the next few weeks my insurance will approve a couple of new therapies for me that will have better results than my previous ones.

What do you know about psoriasis now that you wish you had known when you were first diagnosed?

When I was first diagnosed the doctor basically gave me some steroid cream and sent me on my way. I wish that I had known how many other things psoriasis can have an impact on within your body and how much diet can help improve those things.

What do you want others to know about living with psoriasis?

I'd love for others who are living with psoriasis to know that they aren't alone. Many of us are affected by Psoriasis/PsA. It's a complex thing, and not every therapy will work for you. Stay diligent and work with your doctors to ensure that you are receiving the things that work best for you. For me, finding a primary care doctor that has great communication with my rheumatologist has put me on the fast track to getting things taken care of. 

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