Can you please tell us a bit about yourself? What are your passions, hobbies, job?
I’m from a town called Montclair in New Jersey. I went to Rutgers University as an undergraduate and studied history. I do historical research. I often work with authors and for authors. My passions are history of course, but also theater. I like baseball. I volunteer with NPF, and that’s terrific. I’ve been doing it over 3 years now. I’m mostly involved in advocacy. I have taken part in Capitol Hill Day.
What type of psoriasis do you have, and how long have you experienced the disease?
I was about 30 at the time. I’m 66 now. It’s been a long haul. After about 5 years of psoriasis, I developed PsA due to the inflammation. I really embody 3 generations of treatments, topicals, infusions, and then the miracle of biologics.
When I went to my dermatologist, Dr. Mark Lebwohl, I was on crutches. We had 10 plus years of treating this disease. I got off the crutches but was still not improving. Then with the advent of biologics, I have been able to see great progress. I can get out and play softball. I never expected to be able to do that. It was a great social activity. It was good to get that kind of exercise.
Do you have PsA or other related diseases (comorbidities)?
I have psoriatic arthritis. It started with psoriasis.
How would you describe your unique experience of having psoriasis?
It is unique to me, but certainly not unique in the broader scope of things. It is certainly evident when I am with my peers at NPF. When we talk about our disease, it is pretty clear that there is overlap.
It really impacted my life in a really severe way. My hands would swell. I’m a writer, editor and researcher. I remember one period of time where the joints were so swollen and painful that I couldn’t really hold a pen or write with any kind of ease. I lost a job. It was nothing personal. It was simply because I couldn’t type. In that business there are strict deadlines, and they couldn’t wait for my inflammation to go down.
Being on crutches, having the pain and discomfort of that. It was a chore to get on a bus, and since I live in New York City and have public transportation I don’t need or have a car here, so that was a challenge.