By Josh Saunders
A mum-of-two who suffered from an agonising ‘skin burning’ disease to 80% of her body is given hope after medication starts to heal her.
Lisa Eustice, 51, from Prescott Valley in Arizona, USA, battled with a crippling form of plaque psoriasis that left her in ‘mind-altering agony’ and red-raw over nearly her entire body.
She was diagnosed at the age of 24, but believes giving birth to her son and medication led her to suffer her worst symptoms last year where it affected 80% of her body.
The autoimmune disease leaves sufferers with burning, bright red skin that flakes and cracks, with Lisa describing the pain as being like ‘moving on broken glass’.
But seven-months-ago, she visited specialist Mayo Clinic doctors, who declared they had ‘never seen a case as severe’ and started her on different treatments.
She now believes she is on the road to recovery, being relatively pain-free and the appearance of her skin drastically improving.
Lisa, a former-manager, said: “The flare-ups I’ve experienced have been the worst of my life, previously I had never gone through anything like this.
“The raw skin covered both of my legs from the ankle-up, the bottom of my back, arms, stomach and chest, along with a couple of patches on my face.
“It looked like my skin had been on fire, it was red and painful with large portions of skin peeling off.
“Psoriasis is a disease where you skin cells reproduce significantly faster than a normal person’s, so it comes out as plaques that dry and fall off.
“Because of how dry your skin becomes whenever you move it cracks and bleeds, along with the burning sensation it’s like you’re moving on broken glass.
“The pain is mind-altering and unfortunately until recently I’ve not been able to get any pain-relieving medication from dermatologists or rheumatologists.
“There’s no relief, the itching is so intense and you can’t scratch as it will burn more and bleed.
“I was blessed to go to Mayo Clinic and slowly it’s coming under control through a new biologic medicine that’s just been released.
“At Mayo Clinic, my dermatologist told me she had never seen a case as severe as this, a team of 12 doctors analysed my skin because of how severe it was.
“Since visiting there I’ve felt hope, I feel like things are going to get better for me.
“At this point I’m seeing relief from medication that I’m receiving, I just hope it treats the disease as well as my symptoms.”
Lisa, who has battled psoriasis for over 25-years, believes her symptoms took a turn for the worse since giving birth to her son Conor in 2002.
Since then her flare-ups gradually became worse, progressing to her joints, skin and to the point where she had to stop working 15-years-ago.
Lisa said: “It was diagnosed at 24, but it was never anything I couldn’t manage, it never got out of control, it was only since the birth of my second child that it developed so badly.
“Before I suffered with symptoms mainly on my knees, elbows and scalp, it didn’t affect my daily life like it does now.
“I never experienced a bad flare-up until recently when it got out of control.
“From what my doctors have told me any major event in your life like a pregnancy and the stress on your body can trigger other problems.”
Lisa’s symptoms of psoriasis have left her depressed and in agonising pain due to psoriatic arthritis – that’s impaired her mobility.
She said: “I’m unable to work because of my psoriasis, I have psoriatic arthritis not only on my skin but on my joints and soft tissue too.
“I was an extravert, I love people and interacting with the public, but you’re judged so hard on your appearance it’s been very hard and left me severely depressed.
“Normally I’m an extroverted person but with the stigma of how my psoriasis looks I’ve had to hide away and never wore shorts even in summer.”
Lisa believes the stigma around having psoriasis and people not understanding the condition have left her with even more problems.
The auto-immune disease affects up to 3% of the world’s population, an estimated 125 million people worldwide.
She added: “It’s not just a rash on your skin and dismiss it by saying ‘Put lotion on it’, but that doesn’t help because it’s an autoimmune disease.
“I want people to know I’m not contagious at all and people with psoriasis aren’t lepers, it’s a tough stigma that I deal with regularly.
“At 51-years-old I feel like I’m in my 90s, I have a son in his teens who
I want to do fun things with like camping, fishing, hiking, kayaking and more but I can’t because of Psoriasis.”
Lisa, who is unable to work due to her condition, is fundraising to cover the costs of medical treatment that she hopes will help her to reclaim her life.
She said: “Being a disabled single parent of two children, means I don’t have much of an income, financially it’s been very draining on all three of us.
“I’ve been blessed to receive help and food from my local church as well as friends and family doing all they can to make things easier for me.
“My skin is starting to get a little better, thankfully I no longer have the mind-altering pain that I suffered with before.
“But I’m still trapped inside a body that is causing me limitations, I’m hopeful the medications can help me but I still have a long way to go.”
To donate visit: www.gofundme.com/help-lisa-get-control-of-psoriasis