A Bump in the Road After Starting a New Eczema Treatment

In the previous two parts of this series I had the pleasure of sharing Becky Visser’s story about deciding to change treatment and starting Rinvoq. In case you missed it, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here. In this article, we continue Becky’s story and a bit about one “roadblock” she hit on her journey with starting a new treatment.

How has Rinvoq impacted Becky's vaccinations?

In Becky’s case, this was contracting COVID about 2 months after starting Rinvoq. Becky already had COVID once before Rinvoq, even though she was vaccinated. She stated it wasn’t as big of a concern for her when she found out that she wouldn’t be able to get any more vaccinations while on Rinvoq, as part of being on Rinvoq meant not receiving any live vaccinations while on it.

How was her second COVID experience?

When Becky found out she got COVID a second time while on Rinvoq, she had to navigate this healing journey while still learning about Rinvoq and how it affected her body. Becky said “the second you get sick, whether COVID or not, you have to stop Rinvoq immediately.” Needless to say, she was a bit scared when she got COVID, understandably so (I was, too!). This time, she was having chest pain and afraid she might get a chest infection, so it made the situation even more stressful.

How was her COVID treated?

Thankfully, in her town, there is a COVID clinic she could go to right away. There was some confusion due to having so many different medical professionals – between the clinic, Rinvoq and their compassionate care program which helps Becky be able to afford and receive the medication, and her dermatologist's office. Nonetheless, she was able to get help and started on an antiviral medication called Paxlovid, a 5-day treatment which has been approved for COVID. Since she is on a medication that affects her immune system, in this case, Rinvoq, she qualified for it, and her doctors deemed it necessary to go on it.

How was her recovery?

Overall, her recovery was fairly smooth and thankfully not too long. She only had to be off of Rinvoq for about 7 days. While she did have eczema rashes pop up again, it’s hard to say whether that is due to being off of Rinvoq, or because of COVID in general. I know in my case, as I shared with Becky as well, when I had COVID last year, I went through a worse TSW and eczema flare than I had in years. Regardless, when she got back on Rinvoq, she started to see major improvement in her skin again. Her dermatologist bumped up the dose of Rinvoq, and it has helped immensely since.

Has Rinvoq been working for Becky's eczema?

While Becky had this little “bump” in the road (as most of us do in life in general), overall, she has been happy with the progress she has made on Rinvoq. And frankly, I have been happy and honored to be a part of it with her!

How has Becky's journey helped me?

After going through TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) myself on top of eczema for many years, it was quite valuable for me to hear Becky’s perspective, personally. There is always a question and controversy about whether or not those of us with TSW should or should not go on other medications, and it’s one I still think about often.

As I mentioned to Becky, although I haven’t been on any skin medications in many years, I don’t know what the future holds for me. If I am still severely suffering in the future, I may have to make that tough decision as well. When I shared this with Becky, she stated “That’s where I had to get into the space of surrender. I wanted to work and wanted my independence, which is what led me to start medication in the first place.” I can completely relate to this as well, and surrender and letting go has been a big lesson on my own healing journey with TSW and eczema, and continues to be.

How do we decide when to start a new medication?

With that said, whether it’s TSW or eczema, or both, it is always an individual choice to decide whether or not we want to go on a medication, and which one. So far, Becky’s decision has had a good ending, and her skin is still doing great. However, that doesn’t mean this will work for everyone, so as always, it’s important to keep in mind how different we all are. But hopefully, Becky’s story of healing and her decision to trust herself and her intuition in starting this medication can give some of you hope that there is help and support out there. There is always hope. We just have to continue to advocate for ourselves and listen to our own bodies. After all, nobody else can make any decision for us.

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