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21 year old daughter has had ulcerative colitis for 4 years, has had
surgery to remove her colon, had serious complications from the surgery
(septic shock, cardiac arrest, long time in intensive care), recovered
fully, with lots of scars from surgery and stretch marks from swelling and
medications. Now she is diagnosed with psoriasis, too. We never
realized the connection between UC and P until my daughter ran into
someone with the same combination recently, which triggered the search for
we think is that she was on lots of steroids for the colitis (up to 60 mg
a day). Now that her colon is gone and she no longer has colitis, she no
longer needs steroids. But
now that the steroids are gone, the psoriasis is able to show its face. I
truly hope that she will not require steroids again in her life. They have
such serious side effects. Your
site is incredible, lots of good information. Nice humorous, human and
humane touches. Thanks.
Ironically, we decided to go ahead with surgery for her colitis when we
arrived to a point when the steroids no longer worked, and it was a
decision between surgery and a trial of methotrexate. -Janet M.
Response: As you know, Janet,
a search on “ulcerative colitis” here will yield just under a dozen
email exchanges. I’ve
learned from correspondents like you that UC and P share the general
characteristic of being immune system dysfunctions.
It is not surprising that some of the powerful systemics that
suppress P also work to suppress UC.
I suppose it’s also not surprising to see these diseases
appear to grow one from the other, or to exist simultaneously.
When the root cause of something is as fundamental as the
dysfunction of a gene (or genes) the very nature of the “ripple
effect” would suggest multiple ramifications (symptoms, conditions,
seems to me your daughter may be a very good candidate for some of the new
biologic response modifiers or humanized monoclonal antibody
drugs being tested to target very narrow aspects of immune system
dysfunction. (For further
reading, National Psoriasis Foundation members should search on
“Remicade,” “Enbrel,” and “Amevive” at NPF’s
stories I have heard about UC — including this one about your daughter
— lead me to feel P is a lighter burden for most people.
I certainly understand your decision to eliminate the condition
permanently through surgery. Since
methotrexate has a maximum life-time dosage, it would not likely have been
a permanent solution for her in any case.
best news is that, at 21, your daughter has every reason to look forward
to P-free skin in her future. We
are learning so much, on so many different fronts, that not to be
optimistic would mean a person simply isn’t paying attention.
I hope you’ll keep us posted. -Ed