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When The First Patch Appeared On My Body, I Wish I Knew That Life Wasn’t Going To Be Easy

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By Anonymous:

At the age of 10, when I developed the first white patch on my body, I wish I’d known that life with Vitiligo was never going to be easy. Vitiligo is a skin condition where absence of melanin cells causes white patches on the skin and can increase at an alarming rate. Those affected may end up with a few small patches, while for some it can spread across their entire body, followed up by people’s taunts, stares and questions for life.

Vitiligo
For representation only. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Chances are, many of us are already familiar with Vitiligo or the white spot condition you may say. So what forced me to take up the issue and write about it here? We are all well-educated, but do we always act responsibly? No. Vitiligo undoubtedly has a social stigma attached to it. In India, it gets worse because of innumerable religious beliefs and myths. Every other person I meet has an acquaintance suffering from Vitiligo and suggests me to check with the doctor known to them. Any advice is welcome but what makes me sulk is the overwhelming concern expressed about my future, like trying to convince me to the point that living with Vitiligo is a shame.

For me, it started from my face. My father took me to the doctor who prescribed some incredibly strong steroid creams, and two days later my skin was burning so much that I could not even wash and wipe my face. I had to skip school for a few weeks. Then, my parents took me to another doctor. The scars cleared gradually and I was fine in a few months. Being young, I was not aware of Vitiligo myself. Everywhere, everybody made their own assumptions. Some thought it was contagious and were afraid to touch me, others thought I’d been burnt in a fire. When I turned 12, Vitiligo started spreading. For me, it always started with a tiny spot and dispersed slowly. Medicines worked and almost cured me except a few stubborn patches remained. Vitiligo is curable but temporarily. White patches disappear and re-appear. I went to several doctors and tried various treatments, but everything failed in curing it permanently. Because honestly, it has no permanent cure.

Things were moderate during my high school and college, for I had no prominent patches visible anymore and I had also learned the art of covering the stubborn ones. I never experienced name-calling. For that, I must be grateful, as not everyone is so fortunate. Though I have often faced silly comments, coming from even educated people. Sometimes we do it unknowingly and sometimes we do it for fun, without comprehending its impact on the other person.

Having Vitiligo stopped me from expressing myself. I hated summer and wished it was December all year round so I didn’t feel so out of place. I’d wear anything that covered my skin as I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone catching a glimpse of my disease. My skin got worse near the end of college and beginning of office days. Stress is a contributing factor in making Vitiligo worse. I don’t recall going through a stressful period, but I recall watching as my skin went whiter over the course of six months. I decided to quit my job and give one shot at treatment by a new doctor. Results were good and recovery was better than the previous times.

Recently, Chantelle Winnie, who has a very prominent form of Vitiligo, made it on America’s Next Top Model. I was overwhelmed at seeing someone with Vitiligo being praised for her natural beauty. Aside from building awareness internationally, Chantelle became an inspiration and proven that those who are different are just as beautiful.

Everyone takes a journey in life and while times were hard, I wouldn’t change what I went through. I finally feel like I’ve reached the stage of acceptance and am more comfortable with who I am. If I were to speak to my ‘younger self’ now, I would say accept who you are and embrace what you were born with. See what you have as a blessing, there is a reason why you are unique and sometimes that makes for a slightly more interesting life! Don’t spend time worrying about those who try to make you feel inferior. People will stare and ask questions, but don’t feel as though you have something to hide. It’s not about people accepting you, it’s about you accepting yourself first and once you do, you’ll walk with an air of confidence that tells the world that ‘you just don’t care’.

Featured image source: Getty Images.
You must be to comment.
  1. Arpita Chawla

    Hi readers,

    Was just going through this site and thought of sharing my experience with this disease. My daughter was suffering from this vitiligo also called as leucoderma disease from last 6 years and these patches were increasing gradually, and the entire family was so much tensed with it since inspite of trying the best dermatologist there was no improvement, rather new patches were coming at regular intervals. We were despair of her recovery and then someone suggested homoeopathy. we were earlier reluctant to try homoeopathy but from a relative’s recommendations we started taking homoeopathic treatment from Dr. Navneet Bidani from Hisar, Haryana. India. The improvement was very slow but after taking one year of treatment from him, my daughter is now free from any such spots. Its been two years now that she is perfectly alright and we are not taking any treatment. I highly recommend homoeopathy especially from Dr. Navneet Bidani (+91 9416336371) for this particular disease.

    Best Wishes,
    Arpita Chawla

  2. themaverickwoman

    Hey Friend,

    I can relate to it… My mom suffers from it and I have seen her struggling through it and finally accepting it.. People who love you , should love you unconditionally and if they dint, they are not worth your love .
    Loads of love from me 🙂

  3. Nivedita Khanna

    Dear Mrs. Arpita Chawla,

    Thanks a ton for your recommendations. My son was suffering from leucoderma from last 3 years and we tried everything but in vain, then upon you suggestion, we started treatment from Dr. Navneet Bidani and to our surprise, there is significant improvement within 4 months, we are still continuing the treatment and now we are fully confident. His approach is really commendable.

    And the credit goes to you for recomending such a good doctor for my son. Thanks again.

    Nivedita Khanna

  4. Aver Reema

    Very good article.
    Now the people advertising here about treatment. Someone has endorsed too.
    Plz don’t take advantage of others helplessness.

  5. Manish Mishra

    As a sufferer of Vitiligo for 12 long years, who finally got relieved only by cosmetic surgery, i found all the sort of medicines totally worthless. Nothing worked.

  6. arjun p

    OK, first of all you need to stop believing that it is incurable. Anything is possible (not my words, but of learned gurus and babas).
    And as you pointed out, stress is a key factor, try and eliminate that from your life. Any skin problem is related to the liver. Do pranayama( kapalbhati and anulom vilom, half hour each), yoga asanas and acupressure which stimulate your liver(and practice them everyday, mark my words you will feel a lot better). Try to learn as much as you can about your condition( i am sure you already know a lot).
    Lastly, you need love in your life, cherish those who truly love you, stay away from negativity. You have my love and support….

    Cheers!!

  7. rinkigu16370976

    Vitiligo is a condition with absence of certain color providing skin cells named melanocytes that is initially not recognized by many. A few of people are aware of this disease when it spreads on the skin. It is not an outbreak, so it is treatable.
    It can also be inherited. The disease usually occurs in people between 10 and 30 years old and affects both men and women equally. According to some scholars it is a type of foodborne disease which can be considered as partial truth. Because the exact cause of this disease has not been known till date and research is going on in this regard.
    But in the case of vitiligo, the importance of proper eating habits cannot be denied

  8. rinkigu16370976

    Vitiligo is a condition with absence of certain color providing skin cells named melanocytes that is initially not recognized by many. A few of people are aware of this disease when it spreads on the skin. It is not an outbreak, so it is treatable.
    It can also be inherited. The disease usually occurs in people between 10 and 30 years old and affects both men and women equally. According to some scholars it is a type of foodborne disease which can be considered as partial truth. Because the exact cause of this disease has not been known till date and research is going on in this regard.
    But in the case of vitiligo, the importance of proper eating habits cannot be denied

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