Monday, July 9, 2012

One Hundred Percent

I haven't done an update on my vitiligo diagnosis yet, so I thought I would share it with you here. Last week, my diagnosis was confirmed one hundred percent. My doctor looked at my skin under a Wood's lamp. It's a filtered light, almost like a black light, that highlights skin issues. Depending on the color of your problem areas it can help a doctor diagnose you. With vitiligo, the patches on my wrists and hands had to show up like white does under a black light. Sure enough, mine did. It indicates that the actual pigment in my skin is missing in those areas which is vitiligo. Under the light, we noticed areas that hadn't lost all pigmentation yet. I know that's where it will begin showing up next.

I also discovered what type of vitiligo I have. There's not a ton of information out there about it and not many doctors are experienced in dealing with it. I have generalized vitiligo which basically means it's very symmetrical on my body. If I have a patch on one wrist, I have one on the other as well. If I have one new spot show up on my arm, I can expect another one on the other arm. 

So many of you may ask what I'm doing to manage it....

I've decided to boost my immune system as much as possible. Theoretically, when my immune system is lowered through sickness or stress I am most susceptible to things spreading. When my body has to fight illness it cannot keep the vitiligo in check. I'm now taking a daily vitamin and supplementing it with vitamin C, a B complex, and Zinc. 

 I'm also protecting my skin now. My spots are at risk for burning easier and can develop melanoma much easier than the rest of my skin. It is also believed that a severe sun burn can injure the skin and the spots can develop there months later. I can probably count on one hand how many times I've worn sunscreen in my life. I spend my summers blissfully tanning and enjoying the sun. This is something I'm just not used to. I enjoy my tan and I really hate giving it up. But, I don't really get a choice now. So welcome the sunscreen... On a side note, Ryan is being awfully sweet with this. He's turned into the sunscreen police. If he catches me out, I'm immediately sprayed. 

So, that's where I am. I plan to manage the stress around me as best as possible. Things are getting easier at work since the tornado. We are rebuilding and life is slowly beginning to feel more normal. We had some severe wind gusts last week that caused a lot of damage, but I think we're almost numb to that kind of stuff now. 

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