I've been battling psoriasis for the most part in the 30 years of my human existence. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid buildup of skin cells. And I thought I already had the worst of it.
Since the demise of my dad in 2009, I started supporting my family. While I have two sisters, I took the biggest cut of the pie.
More than two years ago, I decided to live independently, away from my family who chose to stay in the province. I still partly support them. From where I live, that's the usual setup: being the breadwinner. We're family, after all. The problem is, with meager salary (I earn only about 650 USD net/month, considering my 9+ years of work experience and managerial level kind of work stream), I can barely make both ends meet. So it's honestly impossible to save up for emergencies and other future expenses. I don't have insurances and investments. My bank account is empty.
Early last year, every twice a month, I would either have my right or left foot swollen. Say, pain of 8/10 tops. I had it checked and the doctor said that I have hyperuricemia/acute gouty arthritis. The uric acid level was elevated so I had to take medicines and painkillers and change my diet. I did everything. The swelling would stop two or three days after and would be back in a month or two. I followed the treatment routine. And it stopped for a while from November 2018 onward.
Come March this year, my condition worsened. The medicine for my uric acid may have affected my skin disease. My psoriasis flared up all over my body. The skin lesions have become bigger and even went up to my scalp. The swelling of my foot spread to my legs, lower back, and arms. During these attacks, I have become completely immobile. I am like paralyzed only with unimaginable pain. Pain level is 10/10.
I was then diagnosed with symmetrical psoriatic arthtitis, affecting both sides of my body. It's a double whammy. Not everyone who has psoriasis develops psoriatic arthritis.
Now, the anti-inflammatory drug I'm taking, Arcoxia (Etoricoxib), would work only after two to three hours and will just be a temporary relief. I would be rushed to an ER to be given painkillers via an IV line. The swelling would stop after four to five days and would then be back in a day or two. My attending physician is closely monitoring the meds I am taking because my recent abdominal ultrasound has shown that I have a fatty liver. So giving me an oral drug like Methotrexate, a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant, or topical steroid is not a good idea for now.
The past week, from Wednesday night until today (as of writing), has been the longest days and nights I had in years. I thought I was gonna die. I was alone in the apartment. I have no money, no internet, no stock of medicine, and no food. I was sleeping in my room at the second floor and inexplicable pain woke me up. I cannot move my body. Both my feet, extending to my legs, were swollen. I was crying and screaming for days and nights. I can't take the stairs. Thank God, I have water to fill myself up. I used the empty bottles to pee. No bath. No food. Nothing whatsoever. I prayed over and over again. Until some of my relatives, came to the apartment, and provided all the assistance I needed. Until today, the swelling hasn't stopped. The pain has lessened. The deformities on my feet are apparent now.
I was only able to support the recent medications and laboratory exams I had because of the health insurance provided for by my former company. Some friends and loan sharks have helped me pay for the prescribed medications. But now that my boss who has always been understanding to my condition decided to fire me from work, I may no longer have access to my health insurance. I accept the termination as I fully understand that he also has to protect his business for himself and the other employees.
What my physician recommends as the best option, instead of using oral and topical steroids and on top of regular photochemotherapy sessions, is biological treatment for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
The best choice in the market today, according to her, is Novartis' Scapho which is about 615 USD per vial. 6 vials are needed in the first 5 weeks. Then 1 vial per month. What she initially said was it may have to be lifetime but it actually depends on how your body and the disease itself would respond to the medication.
This is the most challenging chapter of my life. I am pushed to my limits. Giving up has always come across my mind. I came from a very a small family and only a few friends. I have no access to resources. I am jobless to date. And my disease is on a roll. Two nights ago, I came too close to taking my own life. But then I realized, I haven't done everything yet to turn things around. Hence, I've decided to put up this crowdfunding project to fight for my life.
I don't expect much from here. As soon as I recover physically, emotionally, and mentally at least by 50%, I will have to work and grind again. The story, my story does not stop here.
I am depressed. I am sick. I am sleepless. Thanks for the love you're sending in advance. Please include me in your most sincere prayers.
*Please refer to the gallery for the photos.