Ann Grundy, 42, a care assistant from Liverpool has suffered psoriasis since the age of 10. She is no ordinary psoriasis sufferer in that she has a patch or two of it on her skin. She is literally covered in very severe psoriasis from head to toe but until how treatments offered to her by doctors have failed her.
BY Ann Grundy 3 July, 2007
Ann Grundy before and after using Oregon Grape Root Creams
Steroids dangerously thinned her skin, oral steroids gave her terrible migraines and made her vomit, UVB therapy left her badly burnt, and PUVA was not recommended as it may have left her blind and her risk of skin cancer was just too great from her previous treatments and the fact her mother had died from skin cancer.
Her psoriasis is so bad that often she has to have her clothes bathed off by her daughter, and sheds huge amounts of flakes when she undresses every night. At one point the psoriasis on her back was so bad that she couldn’t bend over without her skin splitting open.
But after all the drugs she has taken over the years and everything she has tried to improve the condition of her skin it was a natural alternative that finally gave her some relief from her suffering….
“I first got psoriasis when I was 10 years old, it started in my scalp and spread to my elbows and knees, but by the time I was 18 it had spread so badly that I was covered in the scales from head to toe. I have been suffering with psoriasis now for 33 years and have tried everything to try and get it under control but not only have the recommended treatments from my doctor not offered me any relief, they have brought with them a host of terrible side effects. I have tried everything available and now my doctor has nothing left to offer me. He has more or less given up on me now.”
“My psoriasis was so bad at times that my daughter has had to put me in the bath fully clothed in order to soak my clothes off me as the psoriasis has caused my skin to crack and bleed so badly that my clothes have stuck to my body and its too painful to tear them away. The psoriasis on my back was so bad at times that I couldn’t bend over as it was so painful and the skin on my back would actually all crack open. Every night when I take my clothes off, it is almost as if I shed a skin as flakes as big as ten pence pieces fall off from my whole body.”
“I have tried steroid creams prescribed from my doctor but Dovenex became too dangerous for me to use as I was having to use it all over my body so often to try and control my psoriasis that it was thinning my skin out too much. The milder cream I was given as a replacement simply had no effect at all. I can only use the stronger steroid cream twice a year now and whenever I stop using it my psoriasis comes back with vengeance and I am left having to use the milder cream for the six months in between which has no effect on my psoriasis.”
“I have also been given strong oral steroids called Methoxatrate but these were just horrendous. They gave me instant migraines which were unbearable and made me unfunctional and actually physically vomit, so my doctor had to take me off those too.”
“I tried UVB treatments for which the patch test went fine but after my first proper treatment at high intensity on the front of my body my skin started feeling very hot and itchy. Then later on at home the skin on my stomach started getting so red and painful, I was so badly burnt I couldn’t move. I went back and they started me off again on lower intensities, but when they got to the higher intensities, which are the ones which will have any effect, I got burnt very badly on my back and the patch which had covered part of my back spread so much that now my whole back was entirely covered in psoriasis. The treatments had burnt me and made my psoriasis spread. They said that I was their most unsuccessful patient ever, and by now I had had the maximum amount of treatments I was allowed so that treatment option was also ruled out. I was sick of always being told I was an unusual or extremely severe case that the treatments were not working for. I felt as if no one could help me, it made me feel very scared.”
“The last thing that my doctor could offer me was a treatment called PUVA, but this treatment had horrible side effects. The treatment requires you to wear blackened glasses after you have had the treatment for the rest of the day which is not only impractical , but if they fall of for some reason, say if I tripped up and they came off, then you could be left blind, which was terrifying. And I would have to go through all of this three times a week! Not only did this put me off, but the treatment carries a risk of skin cancer, and as I had already had the UVB treatments and also as my mother had died of skin cancer, this treatment option was just not a possibility for me as I didn’t want to put my sight or indeed life at risk to cure my skin condition.”
“Obviously I get very down about my condition. I often feel like I am being punished in some way. I look around at other people with normal skin and I wonder what it must be like to live with skin that doesn’t constantly fall off or crack and bleed. I can’t imagine living without the pain. Recently I have tried to come to terms with the fact that I will never be cured. After so long living with my condition and trying so many different treatments I feel my body is tired of being plied with drugs and burned. I feel I need to just need to leave it alone now before I make matters worse for myself. I am trying to accept that is will be with me forever, and there is never going to be some miracle cure on the horizon which is going to change that.”
“But I couldn’t help my eyes being drawn to a advert in my local paper two months ago. It was asking for volunteers to take part in a trial of natural skincare range for psoriasis sufferers. I had never tried anything natural on my skin, always being a firm believer in doctors. But because I had got to a point where by my doctor really had nothing else to offer me and I also felt I didn’t want to put my body through any more drug therapy for eth time being, I felt I had nothing to loose by enrolling on the trial.”
“I was very sceptical though as nothing had ever worked for me, not even drugs, so why on earth would something natural work any better. I had built up a real negativity towards any treatments by this time and I was already thinking very negatively about these new products when they arrived at my house. I even told the people conducting the trial that I doubted they would work on me as I was a very severe case. They told me that I didn’t have to take part if I didn’t want to, but that if I did they felt confident that the products certainly wouldn’t do me any harm and there was plenty of evidence from recent medical trials that they may well do me some good, which seemed logical enough so agreed to take part.”
“After just two weeks the Oregon range began to take effect. Obviously I was amazed. After three weeks of use on a twice daily basis of the whole body range, which includes a daily maintenance cream, an intensive serum for very pad patches, a body wash, a shampoo & conditioner and a scalp spray, the psoriasis had improved so much on my legs that now I can actually see my skin again, the first time in years. The scales have thinned so much that I can see my own skin again through the psoriasis plaques which is really exciting, no one realises what a break through that is for me. The serum is highly effective on small intense patches of psoriasis and has worked wonders on the psoriasis in my ears and around my hairline.”
“My psoriasis has not gone by any means, it never will. But it is no where near as flaky as it used to be-the flakes are so much smaller that they are more like dandruff now and the area of my back which is affected has also decreased in size and feels so much better that I am now able to bend over again without pain or my skin cracking. The psoriasis on my arms used to flake into my sleeves but now there are fewer flakes and for the first time everything actually seems to be getting gradually better.”
“The hair treatments, the shampoo, conditioner and scalp spray are working too. Normally I have to wash my hair 4 or 5 times a week with a nasty smelling, glupey coal tar treatment to get all the flakes away, but with the Oregon hair care treatments I only wash my hair once or twice a week and they are nice to use and smell pleasant. Not only are the plaques on my scalp becoming softer and smaller, there are less flakes now and hair is shinier and is no longer left looking greasy and lank from the coal tar treatments. This is the first treatment that I have ever come across that includes a shampoo, conditioner and spray for the scalp. I think that is why is working so well, it is designed to stop psoriasis sufferers having to use any other body or hair care treatments on their skin which may contain aggravating chemicals. I think it’s because I am using the treatment on every part of my body every day and nothing else, that it is working so well.”
“After just three weeks the range has worked wonders and I have stopped using all the creams my doctor has given me. Because it is natural I can use it every day and several times every day at that so I have really been able to attack my psoriasis by bombarding it with treatment all the time – I even wash my hands with the body wash each time I use the lavatory so I don’t even have to get soap on my skin. Because I can use it continuously it gives the psoriasis no chance to regenerate. I feel like I am winning the battle against the plaques for the first time in many years. It’s the first light I have seen at the end of the tunnel for a long time– even my doctor has had to admit that the improvement is significant.”