Sometimes a mom’s intuition is all it takes to get her child to the right physician. When 8-year-old Xavion Chisley developed a fungal infection on his toe, his mother, Nikki, immediately took him to see a dermatologist who removed his toenail to treat the infection. However, when Xavion’s toenail grew back, the infection had not diminished but actually appeared to be spreading to his foot.
“It didn’t sit right with me,” said Nikki of the previous treatments. After seeing four dermatologists over four years, Xavion was finally referred to Children’s National, where he entered into the care of dermatologist Scott Norton, MD. Dr. Norton performed two skin biopsies to discover that Xavion had palmoplantar psoriasis.
There are several types of psoriasis. Common psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease in which there are clearly defined, red, scaly, plaques of thickened skin, while. Palmoplantar psoriasis, on the other hand, is far less common with unusual symptoms, and therefore, it is harder to diagnose. Finally, the Chisleys now had a name for the disease that was now spreading to Xavion’s feet, hands, and scalp. In just a few weeks, Children’s dermatologists and nurses were already one step closer to successfully treating Xavion .
“The nurses are always amazing. I would give the process 10 out of 10,” said Nikki. Dr. Norton was extremely responsive to Nikki’s questions each time Xavion’s psoriasis would change in nature. The Chisleys could always expect quick assistance from Children’s nurses and physicians, whose commitment to relieving Xavion’s pain has never diminished throughout their visits to the hospital. With the additional expertise of Yasmine Kirkorian, MD, who is now Xavion’s primary dermatologist at Children’s National, Children’s doctors fought hard to get the appropriate treatments for Xavion, beginning with methotrexate treatments and Stelara® injections. Dr. Kirkorian also consults with other experts on palmoplantar psoriasis to discuss the latest information on pediatric cases.
“Dr. Kirkorian is amazing. She treats Xavion as if he was her own child,” said Nikki. Xavion, being quite tall for an 8-year-old, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Dr. Kirkorian and looks forward to seeing her at every appointment. While visiting Children’s during his appointments, Xavion quickly grew interested in all the action at Seacrest Studios. To make his experience receiving treatment more meaningful, Xavion attended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) meeting on “Patient-Focused Drug Development for Psoriasis” in March 2016, where he spoke to the group about the effects of difficult-to-control psoriasis on his life. The meeting helped physicians better understand psoriasis from a patient’s perspective. Xavion and his family made an impact on policy, and Xavion says he felt “like a celebrity.”
Now that Xavion and his family have an answer to what’s been troubling him and a plan for treatment, the Chisley family is relieved to finally see improvement in his severe palmoplantar psoriasis. “If I could give any advice to parents dealing with a similar condition, it would be to go to Children’s National immediately,” said Nikki. “Children’s National has the knowledge and tools to get the children what they need.”