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Vitiligo Took 100% of My Skin Color, and Now This

Vitiligo Took 100% of My Skin Color, and Now This

woman looks down with hands behind her back

Over the past twenty years, I’ve watched vitiligo take over 100% of my skin. The transformation from a few spots to large patches and finally to no color at all ended two years ago. And then a week ago I found a few white hairs in my left eyebrow.

“I thought vitiligo had taken everything it possibly could from me.”

It took me by surprise. I thought vitiligo had taken everything it possibly could from me. It had been so long since I had seen any development with my vitiligo that I thought I was safe. And knowing that I was done – that it couldn’t take any more – was comforting.

I hung on to that comfort for a few more days as this new discovery slowly sank in. And then the mourning process began.

A surge of despair swept over me – feelings of sadness, fear and helplessness running fiercely through my body. It was like the Band-Aid had been ripped off and the wound was open once again. I was reminded of how it had felt each and every time I got a new spot before – the uncertainty and anxiety of not knowing what would happen next.

Panic and anger took over as I tried to process what was happening and what was likely to come. Vitiligo has already taken all of my skin color. The girl I was as a child looks nothing like the girl writing this today – at least not under all of the makeup and tanner and hair dye. Younger me might not even be able to recognize the grown-up version of me. And now this.

It might seem trivial to have this much of a reaction to a few white hairs. But I’m not just mourning a little change to my eyebrow, I’m mourning twenty years of struggling with vitiligo.

The white hairs represent so much more than just a loss of pigment. It’s a reminder that I have a condition that I can’t do anything about. It’s a reminder that I’m not “normal.” It’s a reminder that I grew up hating my reflection. It’s a reminder of all of the nights I laid awake crying and wishing this condition would go away. It’s a reminder that my life has been changed and will likely never be the same.

And it’s that reminder – more than just the tiny patch of hair – that is so hard to accept.

I will accept it though, just as I have so many times before. And I might even learn to like the little white patch in my eyebrow. After all, it’s just another part of living dappled.

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  • It feels good to know I am not alone. There is someone out there, in another part of the world, that has experienced what I have, Therefore, believe me and take comfort in what I tell you when I say, you are a conqueror. Not many can endure what you and I have.

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