Hi. My name is Vivienne Oliver aged 60 years.
My Psoriasis journey started 19 years ago. I am an Operational Manager in nursing, working in the Operating Theatre. I had my first flare when my daughter was in Grade 11, and she was pregnant. It was an enormous shock. The flare was mild and when I went to the doctor, I was diagnosed with contact dermatitis. I was treated with cortisone ointment and the rash disappeared. Being a scrub nurse in the operating theatre and scrubbing with disinfectant, I again flared and was again treated by my doctor.
At the same time, I was also busy studying for my post grad degree and had a massive flare up. My husband was afraid and angry and told me I had Leprosy. I was extremely depressed to the extent that I moved out of my bedroom. I then went to see a Dermatologist and was eventually diagnosed with Psoriasis. It took him a while to accept.
I used to be an active person and very involved in sport and was also a lifesaver at the beach. Since being diagnosed, I have never gone back and haven’t even swum again unless there was no people around. I have stopped wearing shorts and short sleeve sweaters even up till today. I became vey self-conscious when walking in the street or malls as people would stare and start talkingWorking as a scrub nurse in theatre, was also very challenging because there were times when we so short staff, I was forced to scrub, and it took my skin a very long time to clear.
About 6years ago, I was on a trial for Embrel, and have never been happier, because my skin was clear for the first time in years, and I could walk bear arms and felt free. The trial was two years, and I was clear the entire time I was on the trial and for two years afterwards.Since Covid hit, my skin has literally become unmanageable, and I sometimes feel like I just want to give up. It is depressing. I am currently doing UV lights and topicals but even that don’t seem to help. I have spent so much money buying and trying whatever was helping others. I have been prescribed Acitretin but after googling, I realized that it had so many side effects that it was so scary, so I haven’t taken that yet.
I have three daughters and they are extremely paranoid that they will also get Psoriasis. My 2 grandchildren aged 12, are the 2 helping with putting on ointment and doing my hair. I am so grateful for their assistance at home.
Sr. Gail Papier is doing an amazing task of assisting me at the hospital as an outpatient and go whenever I have time during working hours which is usually twice per week.I just wish that Biologics can be available to all of us. I have met some people with Psoriasis and was amazed at their positive attitude. Our group chat is also very encouraging, and we can share things others will not understand.
I am currently in a bad space with my skin. It feels like it is all over my body and want to go mad from all the itching and I want to shave my head that’s how bad my scalp is now. I am not sleeping well, as I itch all the time. My work is also a contributing factor as we are going through a bad patch with staff shortages etc…