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Articles > Let psoriatic arthritis win? NEVER!

Let psoriatic arthritis win? NEVER!

For most of John Latella_s life, clear skin and relief from joint pain seemed like a pipe dream. He searched decades for an effective treatment_and after a 40-year battle, he finally won! His ultimate lesson? Knowledge is power.

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As a customer service rep for a bearings manufacturer, John Latella, now retired, has always loved working with his hands. "I even helped remodel my brother-in-law's house," says the 71-year-old, who lives in West Granby, CT. And despite being hit hard at age 22 with the autoimmune disease psoriasis'at times the patches covered 90% of his body'he was determined to live a full life, which included raising three daughters with wife, Vivian.

Still, John was frustrated by the lack of treatments. "My barber would never shave me because I had so many scales on my hairline," he recalls. And John was always explaining his skin symptoms to others, trying to make light of it: "Don't worry, it's not contagious'I've been married 10 years and my wife hasn't caught it!" he would joke.

Then in his early 30s, John started feeling pain and stiffness in his hands, making it difficult to do the woodworking he enjoyed. After several doctor visits, X-rays confirmed the culprit was psoriatic arthritis (PsA), an autoimmune disease that attacks not only the skin but also the joints. "I used aspirin, all kinds of painkillers, but there was nothing that would stop the PsA in its tracks."

The next 25 years turned into a string of failed attempts to find relief. "I tried everything," John recalls. "Salves, ointments, light therapy, every psoriasis drug out there.'

John's dogged pursuit finally paid off in 2004 while attending a psoriasis conference, where he heard about a new PsA medication called a biologic. He wasted no time asking his doctor about it. The result? "I went from 80% skin involvement to just 10%," John says. "When my barber saw me, he said, "What are you doing? I've never seen this happen'you're so clean I'm going to shave you!" "

Today, John credits his treatment success not only to medication but also to his desire to be an informed patient. And of course, he's done some improvising along the way: "Instead of taking on huge home-improvement projects now, I started building wood scale
models of trains, fire engines and trucks. It was a smaller way of doing what I loved," John explains.

'I taught all my girls how to make models; they probably don't remember everything about woodworking but the lessons to focus, slow down and appreciate things'I think those stuck.'
Osteoarthritis Anxiety Joint Stiffness Pain Worry Aspirin Arthritis Psoriasis Psoriatic Arthritis

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