When I was a little girl, maybe 8 years old, my mom's friend french-braided my hair and teased me about a gray streak that laced through the braid. It originated at a small whitish spot hidden on my scalp where the hair grew out white.
That gray rarely showed - maybe just on the odd occasion that I exposed the underside of my hair while brushing it. I was always strangely proud of it, as though it was a pretty silver little secret hidden in my hair.
Around age 13 or so, a crescent shaped area around the very large and noticeable birthmark on my leg seemed to be blanched - as though the dark brown of my birthmark was sucking pigment from the surrounding tissue.
My arm freckles and a small freckle on my chest developed small white auras. Weird, but much of this whiteness seemed to subside or fade in my adult years, so I didn't think much on it.
Until I had Dibbs.
|tried to cover my belly button.|
sorry about the post-preg belly skin.
And the other...um...I would post a photo, but...okay, well, basically, part of the areola on one breast is...disappearing. In other words, it looks like Ms. Pac Man.
That was enough to prompt me to research it (read: use Google as medical advice).
I learned the following:
1) I have vitiligo.
2) I read that it's actually pronounced as though it rhymes with "little eye go."
3) It's an autoimmune disease (just like type 1 diabetes).
4) It's harmless, almost completely untreatable, and potentially awkward-looking if severe.
5) It's rumored to be why the King of Pop started wearing his silver glove.
6) It's fairly common in people with diabetes.
Well, crap, I thought...at least I don't have it in visible areas. Like my face.
Never say "at least."
I was in a hurry on Saturday. I'll do my makeup in the car, I thought. I pull up to the venue where I'm scheduled to sing, flip the sunglass mirror down, and there it was.
|Face Off. Ha. Get it?|
Ha. Naked eye.
That's EXACTLY what it looks like.
|This pic was from several weeks ago and I still wasn't noticing it.|
What does it mean? Nothing.
Should I worry? No.
But do I want to tell others with autoimmune diseases that this can be part of the package deal? Yes.
It's just a little eye go. That's all. Something else that makes me wonder about autoimmunity. Why our bodies react in ways they shouldn't. What causes all of it.
Answers we'll probably never have.
In the meantime, I will watch my skin for new patches. Ask my dermatologist at my annual check-ups if there's anything specific he recommends. Be more careful about sun exposure. And know that, despite all of that, like my other autoimmune condition, it is going to do what it is going to do.