Overcoming the Challenges of Pemphigus Vulgaris: Farhan’s Inspiring Story
Despite the challenges and hardships of battling Pemphigus Vulgaris, Farhan's journey serves as an inspiration for those fighting autoimmune diseases. Despite the difficulties of treatment and side effects, Farhan persevered and found strength in the love and support of family and friends.
“Never stop, never give up and keep pushing.”
Hi all, I’m Farhan, 35 years old. My hobbies are cycling, listening to music, and watching movies.
In 2017, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Pemphigus Vulgaris. The first symptom I had was when my gums started to peel. I didn't take it seriously as I thought maybe it was caused by my smoking habits or I had some gum disease. Things got worse when even chewing hard stuff like chicken caused my gums to peel off.
I started to get blisters on my body a few months later. The blisters never healed no matter what I do. I decided to go to a clinic to have it checked. The doctor told me that I have an autoimmune skin condition and I needed to start medication fast and go for a skin biopsy to be diagnosed. I was then referred to a hospital for my skin biopsy. A few weeks later, I was diagnosed with Pemphigus Vulagaris. By that time, my body was full of blisters and raw skin. I started with medication like prednisolone and later on with azathioprine.
For the first year, things were really hard for me. It was very stressful. A slight push on my skin will just cause it to tear. Every time I woke up in the morning, I just didn’t feel like getting up as my skin will stick to the bedsheet. Bathing was not enjoyable anymore. Everything I ate will just make new blisters pop out and every time it burst or peeled off, it will take months and months to heal. When I’m outside, people will just stare at me as I have wounds and scabs on my face.
Prednisolone also gave me moon face and weight gain. I was really mentally drained and emotionally wrecked most of the time. Sometimes I look in the mirror and just didn’t recognize myself anymore. I could not do much work and I don’t know what my future was going to be like.
When the doctor gave me azathioprine to take along with prednisolone, my condition started to get a bit better aside from the side effects of the medication. After gradually lowering the dose of my medication for a year plus, I relapsed and had a full-blown flare again. I decided to seek a second opinion and restart the high doses of prednisolone and azathioprine. After another year plus, I managed to go to the lowest dose and reached remission.
Throughout this journey, my family and friends gave me lots of love and support. But that one person that has been through everything, from enduring my emotions to helping me to stand strong and keep pushing me to never give up is my wife. To be diagnosed with this disease after 4 months of marriage, I really saw how she was there all the time battling this with me. I’m thankful that God gave me the chance to wake up every morning and continue with my daily life.
During Covid-19, I take extra care of myself. I was stressed not because of Covid but because I was worrying whether I was going to have a flare if I got Covid. But since my diagnosis, I have learned to stay calm and positive no matter what comes.
My advice to fellow autoimmune disease warriors is that there are bad days and there are good days. Always believe and stay positive. Medication can put the disease under control. *Pemphigus vulgaris is an autoimmune disorder that involves blistering and erosion of the skin and mucous membranes.