Zuhaib, aged 28, is from Islamabad and lives with his wife Ayeza and 2-year-old son. This is Zuhaib's story of being diagnosed with a rare skin disease and joining a clinical trial.
It is a skin infection. That was the first diagnosis I received from the physician in my suburb, after observing the widespread eruptions of skin lesions on my hands, arms, and face. Originally he believed my skin infection was a type of allergy, but anti-allergic medication wasn't working. I decided to seek a second medical opinion.
"My skin turns purple, and all my skin burns." I couldn't get in the shower. My condition was getting worse day by day and it kept spreading all-over.
Seven months into my ordeal, I was referred to Doctor Hussein, director of dermatology, and plastic surgery. A specialist in systematic autoimmune disease, he quickly diagnosed me with psoriasis, a skin disorder caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy skin cells and causing skin cells to grow 10 times faster than normal.
My condition was severe and it spread to more than 30% of my body. I was hospitalized for a week and treated with a variety of oral and intravenous medications. My condition improved a little but my body was resistant to some therapies, including (IVIG)-a therapy to improve my weakened immune system.
Then Doctor Hussein suggested that I enroll in a clinical trial and I did so the very next day. This trial was for psoriasis and would last for 7-weeks. They gave me intravenous medication three times a week along with other medications.
The clinical trial staff were really knowledgeable and quickly built a trust relationship with me. Although in the end, there was no cure for my condition, it did help me to completely control my skin disease. It wasn't cured but it was under control. "Without this clinical trial things would never have improved for me."
I have to admit when I joined this trial I was just thinking about myself, but now I realize how important clinical trials are. They are needed to verify new drugs, drugs combination, and new treatments. I want to tell people what a really positive thing it is to take part in one. Some people shy away from it, but joining a trial can help you, and many others in the future.