Editor’s note: In honor of Men’s Health Month, NPF is telling stories of men who are living with psoriatic disease. Lester Motes Triana was born in Cuba and immigrated to Florida in October 2015. In this blog, Lester shares what it was like coming to a new country while facing the challenges of psoriatic arthritis.
This blog is posted in both English and Spanish.
My name is Lester Motes Triana, and I am from Cuba. I’m married and have two beautiful daughters, ages 16 and 20.
Throughout the years I lived in Cuba, I experienced pain in my bones, especially my feet, in which I suffered from a deformation. I was under the care of several rheumatologists who misdiagnosed me with multiple arthritic conditions, never receiving an accurate diagnosis or treatment. Finally, during my last few years in the country, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA).
During the time I lived in Cuba, my PsA presented me with many limitations. Due to the pain in my bones, I was unable to run, walk properly and lift heavy weights. These physical limitations led to limited job opportunities, leaving me mostly able to work jobs where I could sit for extended periods, like working as a chauffeur. Nevertheless, I kept hopeful as I struggled to get by.
I arrived in the United States in October 2015, which means that I’ve lived in this wonderful country for only one and a half years. When I arrived, I immediately searched for assistance from a rheumatologist, who conducted several tests and diagnosed me with psoriatic arthritis. My rheumatologist switched me from indomethacin to ibuprofen twice daily and one Meloxicam before sleep. I felt better, as these treatments reduced some of my pain, but they didn’t work for the more severe symptoms of my disease. On my second visit, I was prescribed methotrexate as an attempt to control my PsA. After a few months, I still saw no results.
NPF turns the tide
It was then that I began an online search for an organization or medical center that specialized in psoriatic disease. My intention was to communicate with this organization to learn more about PsA and its treatments. This is how I found the National Psoriasis Foundation and their Patient Navigation Center. I wrote to NPF about my condition and concerns and immediately received a reply from Patient Navigator Mercy Rivera.
Throughout my time working with Mercy, she’s helped me find doctors, treatments and even provided advice on how to fight this chronic condition. During our first months working together, I had just had an appointment with a new rheumatologist and had been prescribed Enbrel (etanercept). Immediately, Mercy taught me about Enbrel’s patient assistance program and connected me to the program so I could apply. She explained how the program worked and also helped with the prior authorization process so I could get my treatment. Thanks to her help, I was approved for the program and have been on Enbrel for five months.
Now, I’m feeling better and beginning to see great improvements with my health. My pain has decreased significantly, and I’m finally able to go out for a walk or jog every evening – things I never thought I’d be able to do again! Even better, I only have to take one ibuprofen in the morning, since most of the pain has diminished.
For these reasons, I would tell everyone who suffers from this terrible disease to never stop fighting and seek advice from NPF, especially their Patient Navigators. My navigator, Mercy, has been very resourceful, especially to someone like me who is struggling to master the English language. I’m eternally grateful for the help and support I’ve received – not only to get on treatment, but also to have someone to talk to about living with PsA. This has been one of the best things that has happened to me in this country.
I also encourage everyone who’s living with psoriatic disease to never stop exercising (within their capabilities) and to try to follow a healthy diet. When you’re living with a chronic disease, these details are so important!
In conclusion, I can tell you that there’s always a ray of sunshine for those who fight for their lives. Since coming to the United States, I have also learned that there are organizations like NPF, who fight tirelessly to help people live their healthiest lives.
Need help fighting?
NPF’s Patient Navigation Center provides one-on-one support to all people impacted by psoriatic disease. From finding specialists to learning about new treatment options, we’ll help you find the resources you need to live a healthy life with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Any question – big or small – we’re here for you.
To get started with a Patient Navigator, send us a question, email us or give us a call at 800-723-9166.
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! 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 funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.