Monday, 7 June 2010

Now I Know it has a Name

I have this particular affliction.

Scientists including researchers from the University of Florida have discovered additional evidence that generalized vitiligo — a disease that typically causes patches of white skin on the face, neck and extremities that pop star Michael Jackson may have experienced — is associated with slight variations in genes that play a role in the body's natural defenses.

I was calling what I had Michael Jackson disease. I may stay with that as people recognize what that is. And yes, a white person can get whiter.  There's pinkish white, and ghost white.  I'm working on becoming the latter.

My father has a mild case, it just basically caused some of his eyelashes to go startling white.  So of course I have it all over my body.  Various patches of milky white (and very smooth to the touch) skin.   Many people comment that I look like I've been punched in the face, because (ironically) it appears  I have a permanent black eye.  There is no pigment there, so the collection of blood vessels underneath my left eye really look black.  On most people, we just call them "bags", on me it looks like I was in a fight.

"Vitiligo may not get the attention it should because it is not life-threatening, but that's not much consolation for people who have the disorder," said Wayne McCormack, an associate professor of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine and associate dean for graduate education with the College of Medicine. "It has a huge psychological effect on people. We live in a society that places value on personal appearance, and anyone who looks different, children in particular, can be made to feel very self-conscious and uncomfortable."

I'm not that self conscious about it. But it does annoy me when I wear shorts and my legs look like they were in a flour factory. What concerns me more is that (like most men) I tend to think of sun block AFTER I get burnt. Since I don't have any melanin in these patches, I'm probably cultivating multiple skin-cancer gardens.

Every year I find more of these patches on me, resulting in a slightly mottled look. I hope that they discover a cure, or that all the patches merge together in a nice albino white. Consistency is what I'm after.


Ken Breadner said...

Too bad the patches don't form some kind of polka-dot pattern. That'd be cool.
Seriously, it would be nice if they did find a cure for that, it'd be kind of hard to live with after awhile.

Catelli said...

It is only a minor irritant for me. But there are people where they have this on 70%- 90% of their bodies. So yeah, it'd be nice to figure this out.