Our patient stories: Meet Evris | Bristol Myers Squibb

Evris, Stockholm, Sweden

Meet Evris

 

Evris grew up with an autoimmune disease, which began as psoriasis and developed into psoriatic arthritis. These conditions created insecurities for Evris, as he struggled to accept who he was. Now, Evris finds solace in his husband, Henrik, as they share the common bond of being patients. Hear how Evris uses what he has learned from his journey to help others.

We’re strong together. We’ll try to take whatever comes our way.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

[Evris]:  

00:00:08:

I’ve been a patient all my life. It manifested as autoimmune disease, which has taken different shapes and form throughout my life. Growing up, I had psoriasis. Now I have psoriatic arthritis, which is an evolution from a dermatological condition to a rheumatological condition.

[Evris]: 

00:00:29

I had the dry patches and scabs in many parts of my body. I never wanted to show my body and the thing that I struggled the most were, in all honesty, the hands. Like every morning, the first thing I’ll do is I wake up, I’m like, I’ll check my hands. Like, what’s the situation here? Is, is it back?

[Evris]: 

00:00:48

At the same time, growing up, I knew I was gay since I was very, very young. Things were happening in parallel. Right? So I had the disease, which was kind of making me feel different. I had this, these internal very internal thoughts about who I am as a person that was making me feel different. It’s hard.

[Evris]: 

00:01:06

First of all, you accepting who you are and thinking that others won’t accept your disease or your core “you.” I felt I had a reason to hide. Growing up, I many times saw, saw myself as stained. That’s what I had all over my body, by the way. Right? It was stains. So my journey as a as a patient tries to tackle all these things together because I didn’t know how to separate them. And most probably, you don’t need to separate them. They are who you are.

[Evris]: 

00:01:41

Everything that happens to you is who you are. It’s difficult to kind of stand up and say, hey, you know what, If this really affects me, my disease affects me. It felt that I didn’t have the right to have air time on my disease. It’s not a disease that you really talk about because you kind of feel there’s so much worse out there.

[Henrik]:    

00:02:04

So my name is Henrik. I’m married to Evris. Like I had Hodgkin’s. I still have Hodgkin’s.

 

[Evris]:

00:02:20

 

Being a patient and being in a relationship with another patient. For sure connects us.

[Henrik]:   

00:02:24

I will always bear the disease with me.

[Evris]:

00:02:26

We’ve questioned ourselves with questions what life looks like with these diseases. Knowing that your partner in life might get sick again is something you need to come to terms with.

[Henrik]: 

00:02:36

I will stick with you for… the rest of my life. Or for the rest of your life.

[Henrik]: 

00:02:45

Shall we go?

[Evris]: 

00:02:46

Yep.

[Evris]: 

00:02:49

There’s a place just around the corner where we go up on the mountainside and spend time with Pluto and Pluto is the happiest dog in the world. And we just don’t think about other things. We’re strong together. We’ll try to take whatever comes our way.

[Evris]: 

00:03:04

Every experience with a disease for every individual person is different, especially in diseases that, as I myself thought, was not an important disease. It’s important to advocate. I work for pharmaceutical company and it’s one of the reasons I drove me to join this world, the ability to make a difference for the lives of patients and it’s very interesting when you’re one of those patients.

[Evris]: 

00:03:27

I think in life, the sooner you realize that your history and the things that you go through only make you stronger and define who you are, the quicker you can start using those experiences to help others. I hope that by people seeing, seeing me open up about who I am helps in the situation where when I was a younger kid or when I was growing up through the ranks of different companies, I couldn’t identify necessarily with the people that I…that I saw around me because I was like ‘oh, but look, they’re perfect.’ And that’s not the truth.

[Evris]: 

00:04:05

It’s a journey. And that’s why I’m also embarking on this journey. It’s a healing process, being able to speak up and being part of a group of people that are willing to share my story.