Kudos for Dr. Koo and UCSF's P Treatment
Dear Ed: Thank you so much for your wonderful web site. It is a great comfort to me to be able to read about others who suffer from our peculiar disorder, and remind myself that I am not alone.
I am 27 years old, and I first developed psoriasis at the age of sixteen. My family doctor was mystified, and it wasn't until I saw a dermatologist that I knew what I had. My condition became much worse after I graduated from college and moved to Washington, D.C. for graduate school. I have lesions on my back, legs, and arms. Thankfully, while I am normally dressed, I show no visible signs of having psoriasis. I have a very beautiful, understanding fiancee who sympathizes with my plight and loves me in spite of it.
My first derm on the West Coast tried a variety of treatments, including injections, and none of them worked. I saw several derms on the East Coast, and none of them could do a thing. One of them prescribed methotrexate, which didn't help at all, but made me very sick. Finally, I returned to California for a visit and saw a Dr. Koo at UCSF. He immediately checked me into the UCSF Psoriasis Treatment Center. Three weeks later, after daily treatments of light and tar lasting several hours each, I was TOTALLY CLEARED. This was the greatest miracle of my life. I remained clear for more than two years. At the moment, my psoriasis is raging again, but I will be returning to UCSF in a couple of weeks and I know that I will soon be normal again. (T-shirts, shorts, and swimming, HERE I COME!)
It is always difficult to take three weeks out of a busy life (I spent two years on Capitol Hill in Washington, and I now work elsewhere as a historian), but it is MORE than worth it.
My central point is this. I saw SEVERAL derms who NEVER told me that such places existed. They prescribed totally ineffectual treatments that cost a fortune and in some cases produced severe side effects. Are doctors that greedy, or misinformed, or ignorant? Let me repeat. NOTHING worked for me, but three weeks of tar and light transformed me into a normal man. Please, everyone, take a few weeks to beat this disorder, at least for a couple of years, and enjoy a normal life.
Good luck to all of you, and let us continue to hope for a permanent cure. -Michael B.
Ed's Response: The UCSF Psoriasis Treatment Center, and Dr. Koo, are becoming psoriasis legends. Vol. 26, No. 6 (November/December, 1995) of the National Psoriasis Foundation Bulletin sported a cover story headlined "Looking at Chinese Medicine," and featured the work of Dr. Koo in this area. (At that writing, Dr. Koo advocated western rather than eastern therapies and suggested more research into the eastern therapies was in order.) Also, Dr. Koo is sometimes featured in that publication's "Dr. Tell Me" column. (Go to OTHER PLACES and link to NPF if you are interested in inquiring about reprints of these articles, or back issues of the Bulletin.)
I was very glad to read your testimonial about a successful treatment in San Francisco. It's good to know there's a place in the States we can go. Israel's Dead Sea spas and centers command most of the attention.
Don't be too hard on the derms for not jumping to prescripts that would send us all off to Centers or Spas. Most of us can't afford the time or the costs, and I've never heard about an insurance company in the U.S. that would underwrite the expense. I used to be a regular Spa goer (Berkeley Springs, West Virginia), but not for my P (that was before my P manifested) and I lived two hours away. In fact, my onset of P at age 39 almost put an end to my Spa-going. I've been back several times since then, but I forgo the rubdowns, therapeutic massages and baths. Now I go whenever I can because the place I stay, and the overall environment, is as close to Nirvana as I've come in this life. (COMMERCIAL: High Lawn Inn, 304 Market St., Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, 25411; phone 304-258-5700, ask for "Sandy" or "Tim." Go hungry. Breakfasts at the Inn are to die for.) -Ed