Category Archives: Health

Psoriasis gone after 25 years

After 25 years of psoriasis, 18 of them taking methotrexate, I now have no psoriasis evident. It’s now 2/4/19 (second of April 2019) and I had my first, self administered, injection of Cosentyx on December 18th 2018.

On day 2 (December 19th) the itching had gone. Really! After years of feeling as though I was covered in mosquito bites, scratching until there’s bleeding, weeping plaques, clothing worn through where I couldn’t stop rubbing for some relief, gone.

There’s not much more I can say. I am so lucky to have a great dermatologist and to live at a time and in a country where this treatment is available to me. Cosentyx costs about $20,000 AU a year, but because Australia has subsidised pharmaceuticals, I pay $39 for a month’s supply. I feel so sorry for those who don’t share my good fortune and continue to suffer with this bastard of a disease. I hope the stuff continues to work forever, and that everyone who needs it, gets it. I guess it’s all about politics.

Cancer is the best way to die

Not the cheeriest of subjects but….. it does make a lot of sense…….

Cancer is the best way to die and there should be less money spent on its cure, a leading doctor says.

Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, has argued that dying from cancer is preferable to a sudden death, organ failure or dementia because it gives someone the best chance to say goodbye and reflect on life.

In a blog post on the medical journal’s website, Dr Smith says most people would prefer a sudden death, if given the choice, but that that was often the hardest for mourning relatives.

He says people who die suddenly risk leaving relationships unhealed, no funeral directions and an unfulfilled life.

He lists the “long, slow” death of dementia as the worst way to die “as you are slowly erased”, while organ failure leaves “far too much in the hospital and in the hands of doctors”.

He concludes “death from cancer is best”.

“You can say goodbye, reflect on your life, leave last messages, perhaps visit special places for a last time, listen to favourite pieces of music, read loved poems, and prepare, according to your beliefs, to meet your maker or enjoy eternal oblivion,” he says.

“This is, I recognise, a romantic view of dying, but it is achievable with love, morphine, and whisky. But stay away from overambitious oncologists, and let’s stop wasting billions trying to cure cancer, potentially leaving us to die a much more horrible death.”

Dr Smith, who is the chairman of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research and medical records company Patients Know Best, also worked for six years as a TV doctor with the BBC.

Psoriasis, Methotrexate and Alcohol

heart-665185_640

As a little background, I’ve suffered with Psoriasis (P) and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) for twenty five or so years. I have been taking Methotrexate (MTX) for about fifteen years at a dose of 20mg once a week. A couple of years ago, I started to have the occasional alcoholic drink, having barely touched the stuff for at least twenty years. My dermatologist recently told me that of all the drugs doctors tell patients not to drink with, MTX is at the top of the list and he definitely wouldn’t drink “at all” if he was taking it. This is because of the potential for doing serious damage to one’s liver, but there is another reason to not mix Methotrexate and alcohol that I have never seen mentioned before.

Okay. So now the bit where I show I’m only human, or even a bit of an idiot. Of late I found myself enjoying a drink just a bit too much, especially when it comes to whisky. Specifically “Jameson Irish Whiskey”. In fact, during the last few months, I’ve managed to drink myself beyond tipsy and well into the land of wobbly, and more than once. It’s only after the most recent episode that a pattern has emerged that has helped me decide that this kind of fun needs to stop.

You see, I had a bad cold. One that went to my chest. One that required antibiotics. And this cold came back a few weeks later, much to my annoyance. As I write this, I am trying to shake the third bout of this infection. It sure is persistent.

Well guess what I’ve realised. Each time this cold has re-emerged, it has been pretty much the day after a decent session on the booze.

MTX is a DMARD (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug) and suppresses the immune system to some degree, and so does alcohol. As well as the damage the two things combined can do to my liver, it appears I’m also fairly immunocompromised. Hopefully this is only a temporary problem with no lasting effects.

My cold is on the improve again, with the help of antibiotics for the chest infection, and this time I had conjunctivitis. Another week and I will be fine. But I won’t be drinking again. Lesson learnt.

Hopefully this post will help someone else to stay the course. Methotrexate and alcohol are a very bad mix.

=====================

Two months later and…. yeah. Okay. I meant I won’t get blind drunk again. A few light beers seems to be fine.

=====================

Eighteen months later and …. OK. So I seem to be fine with a little scotch, brandy, beer, whatever. At a rough estimate, I drink about a bottle of scotch (or equivalent) a fortnight and a dozen glasses of beer. When I had my gall bladder removed recently, I asked the surgeon to do a liver biosy. The biopsy came back clear, other than some steatosis, or fatty liver, which I share with 50% of the population.

I’m still taking MTX and so far so good.

=====================

Two years later and it’s more like a bottle of scotch a week and a dozen beers. At least I like my whisky straight. Soft drinks are just plain bad for you.  C’est la vie.