Yipee! Here comes the sun again! OK, so the large expanses of skin all over my body that were previously pure white are still not all completely tanned yet. But the mottled effect only looks like ordinary freckles. The main thing is that I feel normal and am happy to wear summer clothes without having to cover up. It's wonderful to be able to enjoy this Indian Summer like I used to before I had vitiligo. It makes such a difference :)
Being quite new to all this blogging and tweeting, I now realise that my #VitiligoBlog posts are probably not being found on Twitter due to a lack of hashtags. So I apologise to all my fellow #vitiligo sufferers on Twitter for this and I apologise to those of you who visit my blog via my website or Facebook and will now find it hashed about! There probably is a way of putting tags on one without the other, but I suspect that's a job for another day :) In the meantime, anyone who would like to catch up on past posts, come and see them on the blog page of #MyVitiligoStory website at www.vitiligoprotocol.co.uk . I'm off now for some corned beef ...guess what.!
One of the things I always found most distressing about having vitiligo on my face (thankfully now gone) was the white patches round my eyes that gave me the look of a deer caught in the headlights. Whenever I passed a mirror and caught sight of myself, both my reflection and I would look at each other with identical expressions - permanently startled!
Joking apart, I found this the most alienating experience. So, now that I look in the mirror and see "me" again, instead of that startled deer, I feel very grateful. I hope fervently that others who feel the same way I once did will get to experience the simple pleasure of recognising their own reflection again.
I wonder what happened to all the publicity about black pepper as a possible cure for vitiligo? There was a flurry of interest in this about 3 years ago, but not much since. Has anyone had any success with this, or indeed with any other spice (as opposed to herbs or nutritional supplements)? I tried a Chinese herbal treatment a few years ago, which caused me some severe burns when exposed to sunshine and that smelled quite strongly of pepper and other spices.
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Looking at our cat the other day, I realised that we humans are the only species that seem to have a problem with being more than one colour at once!!!
Sorry folks - this video was live when the blog was posted but has since disappeared due to a technical hitch! Rather than try to reinstate it on the page, here is the link to it on YouTube. It is an easy to understand explanation of what is so far known about the causes of vitiligo...
Thinking back to how my vitiligo developed, it was quite literally a patchy process! There were years when it progressed slowly, times when it seemed stable, and frightening and depressing times when new lesions appeared almost daily and I was terrified to look in a mirror.
The onset of these new patches of white skin was also a mixed bag. Many of them were heralded by an intensely itchy rash, which only cleared once the new patch had appeared underneath. Other patches seemed to just silently emerge with no warning whatsoever and no accompanying symptoms. Other, larger expanses of skin (e.g. my face and the backs of my legs and my chest) just seemed to gradually morph into total whiteness without my ever having been aware of any patches as such.
Equally strange is the way the vitiligo has been disappearing over the past two years. Most of the re-pigmentation has developed in the form of freckles - pale at first, then darker and more numerous, until freckles have piled on top of freckles and started to join up. Other areas have just "phased" back into a light tan. And a limited patch on the top of each foot has not re-pigmented at all (well maybe it has taken on a milky flesh colour, rather than the stark white of vitiligo, but that's all). These are the only two areas that still don't bear too much scrutiny. The rest could pass for normal now, if a bit mottled in places.
So, there you have it - a patchy picture in every sense of the word!
Like most vitiligo sufferers, I read so much about the condition on the internet that I sometimes find myself going round in ever decreasing circles and meeting myself coming back!.
I'm always particularly interested in nutritional approaches to the subject. In my own case testing for hypochlorhydria recently indicated that I may have low stomach acid. This is a problem that can result in incomplete digestion of food and poor absorption of nutrients, which can lead to numerous chronic illnesses, including autoimmune diseases, arthritis, allergies and skin disorders. This could well explain why adding significant quantities of nutritional supplements to my diet has resulted in my almost complete re-pigmentation over the past two years, when nothing else had ever helped before. (Interestingly, supplementation also seems to have practically eradicated the digestive problems and arthritis that have plagued me most of my adult life. Are all these conditions linked to poor nutritional absorption I wonder? And how many other vitiligo sufferers have similar health issues? Please let me know if you do...)
It seems that low stomach acid is not the only pH problem that can lead to skin disorders and other chronic conditions. Too much stomach acid can produce similar symptoms, and too much acid in the body generally can lead to serious or even life threatening illnesses. Most medical experts in the field recommend a diet consisting of 70 - 80% alkalising foods as compared to 20 - 30% acid producing foods but it's not always obvious which foods are which. For example, who would guess that lemons and limes are actually alkaline producing in the body? Luckily there are plenty of charts available on line which show the relative pH levels of foods - like this one.
The problem is that most western diets are based on meat, processed and refined foods and sugar, as well as copious amounts of tea and coffee (not to mention alcohol) - all of which are highly acid producing. And most potently alkaline producing foods - like wheat grass, alfalfa grass, kamut and kale - are not considered very palatable by most people. Another good reason for taking supplements containing these foods! How to eat a genuinely healthy diet in our modern, western culture ... that's the acid test.
This is the kind of wet Monday morning in early September that brings back memories of going back to school... the smell of wet coats, soggy wool, chalk dust and gym shoes... and that sinking feeling!!! Or is that just me?!How different from yesterday's warm sunshine. I spent the whole day in the garden, doing a little bit of sunbathing and a whole lot of tidying the garden and the outside of the house. Hard work, but I really enjoyed it.
If you suffer from vitiligo you will probably relate to me when I say that two of the things that used to make me really anxious were
I spent most of my life wanting to feel this way and I wish it for everyone who has vitiligo - or any other skin condition that affects their confidence and self-image :)
Well, here it is at last - my first blog. Yes, I am a blogging virgin! I've been putting off getting started with this. But because new stuff on vitligo is surfacing all the time it makes more sense to use this medium rather than keeping on adding more and more pages to my website.
It's been a couple of years now since I started seeing new pigment appearing in my very many white patches. In that time my whole body and face have gone from 80% de-pigmented to 95% re-pigmented. That's a huge turnaround and one I never expected to happen because all my life I had been told that there was no cure for vitiligo and all my life my skin had done nothing but get worse year in and year out.
The doctors may be right - there is no definitive cure for vitiligo. But I now know that there are treatments that can work. So if you are a vitiligo sufferer, keep your hopes alive!
A vitiligo blogger since 2011. My name is Caroline. I had vitiligo for nearly 50 years before finding an effective treatment. I created this blog to share my experiences with others affected by this skin condition.