16 Weeks with Tremfya: The Verdict?

August 9, 2017 Huntington Beach, CA. I took this photo just before starting Tremfya in August in one of my favorite spots in the world.

I started my Tremfya (guselkumab) journey on Monday, August 21, 2017. Sixteen weeks is an important point to evaluate as clinical trials use this time to evaluate new medications. On December 11, after three injections (week 0, 4, 12), I reached that interim endpoint.

The clinical trial data shows that more than 90% of patients showed greater or equal to 75% improvement at 16 weeks. When I took that first injection, I hoped my body would assimilate Tremfya safely, while effectively shutting down the psoriasis inflammation all over my skin.

Below I evaluate my experience with Tremfya at 16 weeks. The following “verdicts” reflect a moment in time, and certainly are not final. As a disclaimer, my observations are from my personal experience only, and should not be construed as making any claims or predictions for anyone else who might try Tremfya.

How well is Tremfya working for me?

Quite well! After a roller coaster few months with tapering off of cyclosporine, atopic dermatitis (eczema) flares, and super stressful stretches of work, I’m amazed at the level of psoriasis clearance. I’m still on a small, small dose of cyclosporine, but no other biologic gave me this much skin clearance working together with even higher doses of cyclosporine.

After a roller coaster few months, I’m amazed at the level of psoriasis clearance with Tremfya.

I have yet to see my dermatologist this month (that is another story altogether trying to get an appointment with him), so I can’t say what percentage improvement I’ve experienced. But my guess is at least the 75% clearance, and probably more.

I promised photos in my last update. The following photos from July, October, and and December don’t lie.

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Call to Prayer: Northern California Wildfires

The smoke outside the church office built up to alarming levels over just a couple hours. The winds shifted, bringing darkened skies that blocked all but the sun’s outline like an impending storm.

The Northern California wildfires made their presence known in our neighborhood earlier this week as fine ash blanketed the city. I ran to my car, amazed a few minutes later how my asthma flared so quickly.

As of tonight, the fires have taken forty lives and thousands of structures. It does look like progress is being made in containing these fires, but as with the recent hurricanes, the impacts will reverberate for a long time.

Local Wildfire Impact

The winds picked up on Sunday night a week ago. Like last night, they howl through my neighborhood as if through a wind tunnel. The air cools at night, but it is dry. Fire danger warnings remind me this is fire season. The warnings last until at least tomorrow evening even as winds died down this afternoon.

I live about thirty miles from the nearest fires in Northern California. Even though the fires do not threaten my home, we see their impact of health and activity everyday. My son could not run cross country for a few days.One student I talked to didn’t know if he would return to school after a week off due to smoke and fire.

On Thursday, when the air cleared out some, I took him to a local meet in Sacramento. A coach from Lodi mentioned his friends in the wine country who lost a home, and others who evacuated. Tonight I learned that someone at church knew someone who lost a house in Santa Rosa. Everyone knows someone touched by these fires it seems.

From Pain to Prayer

I woke up Monday morning to news of all the fires in the wine country. Fires in the Sierra Nevada foothills and in Southern California also flared. Lori immediately thought of the Tonner Canyone Fire that nearly swept into our neighborhood in 2010. In California it seems we’re never too far from fire’s impact.

Growing up in the Bay Area and going to univeristy near Sacramento at UC Davis, I have a fondness and love for Northern California. My family decided to move back after eight years in Los Angeles partly to return to what I felt like home. It’s painful to see so many of my neighbors impacted by these fires.

As I prepare for Sunday at church tomorrow, I keep coming back to the need to turn this pain I feel to prayer for those impacted by the wildfires. I also want to send out a call to pray.  I think of those who lost their loved ones, homes, businesses, and sense of security. Some eight thousand fire fighters fight on the front lines of the fires, as do many, many others of responders.

Psalm 46 is a psalm I’m praying for Northern California. May God be the refuge and strength of all those who are fearful, anxious, or experiencing loss.

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Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.