Waiting for a Breakthrough

Samantha Wesson

“I haven’t let my disease stop me from living my life to its fullest.”

Samantha Wesson is one of countless patients waiting for a breakthrough. A 54-year-old wife and mother from Poughkeepsie, New York, Samantha suffers from psoriasis – an incurable autoimmune disease where skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, often painful, dry patches – and psoriatic arthritis, a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis.

“When I’ve been covered from head to toe, it’s ugly, it’s painful, it’s itching, and it’s pretty devastating,” Samantha says.

Like most patients, Samantha developed psoriasis first, at age 15, and developed psoriatic arthritis later in life.

“Unfortunately, people in our society judge others by their appearance. At first, the psoriasis appeared behind my ears and on my scalp,” says Samantha. “For a young girl, and almost everyone with psoriasis, these symptoms can be terribly embarrassing because most people think that the condition is contagious, which it isn’t.”

Samantha began to treat her symptoms with creams and various medications, to little or no effect. As her disease progressed,
she turned to other treatments – including biologics – which provided her some relief. However, these breaks from her suffering were short-lived, until her body adapted to and rejected the treatments, usually after one to
two years.

Samantha (with her husband Paul) credits the support of her family and friends with the strength to stay hopeful despite the autoimmune disorder with which she has struggled since age 15.

Recently, Samantha developed the painful joint pain associated with psoriatic arthritis. “Sometimes the pain in my knees and ankles makes it difficult for me to get out of bed,” she says.

Despite the many hardships Samantha has endured, she remains positive and optimistic. “I have never let the disease control my life,” she says. “With the support from my family and friends, I haven’t let it stop me from living my life to its fullest.”

According to Samantha, progress on new treatment options means hope for patients.

“I want to thank everyone who is working to find a breakthrough,” she says. “It would mean everything to me, and bring relief to my family. But all I can do is wait, and hope for a new treatment that works for me.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb recently enrolled a Phase 3 clinical trial with its TYK-2 inhibitor in psoriasis. 


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Waiting for a Breakthrough