Struggles with rare skin condition

Kelly Stoddard, Ty Stoddard and their son Jett in their family home.

Ty Stoddard’s rare skin condition leaves him sleep-deprived, emotionally drained and in chronic pain.

The Tauranga dad, who has linear psoriasis, is seeking financial support to undergo private treatment for his condition.

He was due to see a specialist at Tauranga Hospital last Friday but prior was notified all future dermatology appointments have been cancelled.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board says there is a shortage of dermatologists across the country.

BOPDHB business leader Neil McKelvie says they will be contacting patients who had their appointments postponed and will be rebooking them as soon as possible.

Ty has seen three dermatologists at Tauranga and Waikato Hospital over the past 18 months.

He says he will continue to seek private treatment as his condition requires consistency.

“We have lost quite a bit of confidence in Tauranga Hospital. The chopping and changing of dermatologists not understanding is not helping.

“I am going to go private but I am already struggling to support my family and the first consultation costs something like 300 bucks,” Ty says.

Ty was diagnosed with the skin condition at Greenlane Hospital in October 2014.

It has left "painful scabs" forming all over the right side of his body.

"It’s really uncomfortable because every time you move and put pressure on your body the scabs open and close."

"There was a point I couldn't even stand up for ten minutes without being in chronic pain.

"Sleeping is really hard as well because you are up all night scratching and itching,” he says.

Ty works full time as a driver at the Port of Tauranga.

Currently, he is not taking any medication to relieve his condition. All of his past medications have been taken on a trial and error basis.

The last drug he was using, Humira, stopped working about a month ago.

"Humira was working for the first six months, but it has stopped helping me.

"I have taken about four different kinds of medication since I was diagnosed and all of them have relieved it to a point then plateaued.

“They have also weakened my immune system massively, so it’s pretty easy for me to get sick now.”

He feels like his condition is slowly worsening now he is not taking any medication.

"I feel like it's getting back to the sore stage, where I am in chronic pain."

Ty says if the pain gets worse he will just have to "suck it up and go to work" as he cannot afford to take time off.

His wife Kelly Stoddard says the condition takes a toll on the entire family.

“It’s hard to see how much it is affecting him, and our relationship has struggled because of the condition.

“He is constantly tired because of the pain. When he gets home from work he just has to sit down because he is too sore to move.

"We can’t go for walks or go swimming with Jett and that’s what we would usually do.

"I can’t see my life without him, he’s my soulmate. It’s just everyday stuff," she says.

Ty’s son energetic, empathic two-year-old son Jett refers to linear psoriasis as daddy’s “oucheries”.

"He runs rings around us. He's such a boy," says Kelly.

The family is holding out hope that Ty will be able to receive private treatment soon.

“I am tired - tired of being in pain, tired of not being able to do spend time with my son and tired of not being able to do what I used to do,” Ty says.

To support Ty and his family people can donate to his Give a Little campaign: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-ty-restore-his-confidence