Twenty-four weeks ago on Monday, August 21, 2017, I took my first injection of Tremfya (guselkumab) to treat my severe psoriasis. That day I witnessed a solar eclipse as I drove to the dermatology clinic in Sacramento. I recalled the day in grade school (February 26, 1979) when the last total solar eclipse occurred in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s around the time when the first psoriasis lesions emerged on my skin.
Over the course of those almost four decades between total solar eclipses I’ve battled severe psoriasis. Sadly, few treatments helped to effectively relieve the inflammation over those years.
I survived messy and smelly coal tar formulations, phototherapy burns, painful side effects of soriatane/etretinate, liver biopsies with methotrexate, rising blood pressure with cyclosporine, and five biologic mediations with injections. Not to mention the strange diets, supplements (I need write about the snake skin powder), alternative Chinese medications, and other unmentionables I tried to “cure” my psoriasis.
Over the course of those almost four decades between total solar eclipses I’ve battled severe psoriasis. Sadly, few treatments helped relieve the inflammation over those years.
Would Tremfya finally be the treatment to eclipse the nagging psoriasis all over my skin?
High Hopes and Expectations for Tremfya
Going into the clinic for my first injection I felt both excited and nervous. All those hopes and dreams of wanting to find “the one” treatment rested in that syringe full of medical innovation. That’s a lot of pressure and expectation on one treatment.
I knew before long that Tremfya would not be the cure I desired, even though it never promised to be one. By week 6 I began to redefine my expectations:
So, I’m lowering my expectations for Tremfya. I do hope this awesome new medication can beat the lowered expectations. But if it can’t quite climb to the top of that mountain, I’ll take something less. I’ll take less than clear skin. I’ll accept if it needs something other than cyclosporine, such as phototherapy, or stronger topical treatments, to work more effectively at suppressing psoriasis.
Of course, I still hope it clears my skin in a couple months. But if it doesn’t by week seven or eight, I won’t fret about it not doing its job . . . at least not quite yet.
Going into week 21 I’m not fretting about whether or not Tremfya will work or not. Instead, I’m observing a pattern emerge on how it works with my psoriasis. Continue reading →