Vitiligo Correlations: Gluten and Autoimmune diseases

One of the first things I tell people that have been diagnosed with vitiligo is that there may be a vitiligo correlation between a gluten intolerance and the spread of their disease. Do I have proof? No.

But I strongly suspect that food allergies contribute to the worsening of vitiligo even if food allergies are not the direct cause.

Food allergies are something that can be tested and demonstrated. If you have vitiligo, find out if you have food allergies. Don’t cause problems if you don’t have to.

Will going gluten free cure your vitiligo? Perhaps not. But, I have noticed that when I eat particularly clean, spend time in the sun and drink very little alchohol or none at all, my pigment comes back in those spots exposed to the sun. It’s slow and my vitiligo expands in other areas but I am encouraged to see repigmentation of any kind.

 Other vitiligo correlations:

Vitiligo Success Stories

There are so many vitiligo success stories and I am one of them. I am proud to say that vitiligo no longer holds sway over my life and choices. And I believe this is possible for everyone that has vitiligo.

My vitiligo success story is perhaps a bit different than you might expect. I have had vitiligo for just over ten years now. It has slowly grown to more and more areas of my body. My face, my hands, my legs, my feet and my chest.

There was a time when I would not ever where sandals. Only shoes that covered my feet. There was a time when I never wore shorts. Until last year, I had not been swimming. For almost 6 years I never went to a pool party or went swimming in the ocean.

For me, going outside was difficult. Facing the world with two skin colors was something I was afraid to do.

What changed? What led to my success with vitiligo? It was one day at a time, deciding that being afraid of the world, afraid of judgement, afraid of rejection was a waste of my time and other peoples time too.

I started to face my fears. Socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually. One fear after another was faced. One awkward moment after another. And there were many. Still more to come I am sure. And I am happy to be able to say that vitiligo is something I rarely think about as something I am afraid of.

I am not afraid of more depigmentation. Its happening. I am losing pigment here and there.

But I am not scared of it to the point where it disables me. In fact it enables me! Vitiligo enables me to see the fiction of cosmetics. The fictions of our socially constructed notions of beauty and attractiveness. I am able to see more clearly myself and other people. I can see people more clearly as themselves.

It’s a thrill to know that sunshine and peoples gazes are sources of encouragement for me. That is my vitiligo success story.

What’s your vitiligo success story? If you have vitiligo you have one. And you will have many vitiligo success stories. I can’t wait to hear them.

Does vitiligo go away?

The quick answer is: yes, absolutely, vitiligo does go away.

Of course the answer for you may be more complex. Vitiligo is an auto-immune disease and is not understood all that well. Progress is being made but a real understanding is still years away.
Continue Reading

Healthy habits and vitiligo

One of my struggles is keeping a healthy self-image. Having vitiligo makes it easy to believe I am less than I am. Two skin colors is not the norm and this fact at times to my feelings of being non-normal, of being ugly, of being unattractive.

I have learned that through healthy physical habits, I develop healthy mental habits. By learning self-discipline in one area I have developed self-discipline in others.

I have such a fragile mind. I easily react to situations rather than responding with thoughtfulness. It’s difficult for me to keep health habits and keep a healthy state of mind.

A few things that have helped: Continue Reading

Being a king with vitiligo: An Example Of Courage

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a king?

I sure have once or twice. And then the other day I watched that fantastic film about a King of England. Great film.

Not just because it got a few oscars. Not just because the acting is great. Not just because the film is beautifully shot.

All those things are nice. All those things make the film really enjoyable to watch.

Here is the basic story.Continue Reading

It doesn’t get easier, but it does get better.

The other day I was thinking about my parents.

They have been married for almost 40 years. 40 years.

Thats a long time to me. They have been married for longer than I have been alive. Isn’t that amazing?

I was thinking about all they have been through. I know raising me could not have been easy but they did it and they tell me raising their kids, they raised a few, is the most rewarding part of their lives.

They would not trade that experience for anything. Continue Reading

Avoiding pain and having vitiligo

Who likes pain? Who likes discomfort? Who likes awkwardness? Who likes feeling uncomfortable?

You do.

Well I do. I have learned to love pain and discomfort and awkwardness and the uncomfortable.

Why do I love these feelings? These feelings have brought about the most significant learnings and growth that I am aware of. Last year I started working towards optimal health. I want to be the healthiest person I am able to be. I want to be healthy so that maybe I wont have vitiligo or not be as affected by having this disease vitiligo.

I started an exercise program three times a week. I hike regularly and luckily I am able to hike year round because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have lost weight, gained lean muscle mass and in some areas regrown pigment, specifically on my hands. I have also lost pigment on my legs and a couple spots became evident on my chest for the first time. I feel healthy, I feel fit and now I am doing Bikram Yoga every day.

The pain and discomfort of exercise is paying off for me in the form of a healthier me. Pain and discomfort were required for me to get in shape.

This same pattern is evident in every other area of my life. A willingness to experience discomfort socially, in relationships and in my every day life is required for growth in these areas.

I had an amazing realization not so long ago. I realized I had not thought about having vitiligo in a negative way in several months. I realized that while I was shaving I was not looking at the lack of pigment around my mouth and on my neck. I did not worry about its spread over my face. I would go on dates and not worry about what someone would think. I see my reflection in a window and I see me, rather than my vitiligo. I see me not a disease.

How did this happen? I dont know exactly but I suspect that my willingness to experience discomfort and face my fears played a role. Increasing my physical activity helped I am sure. Increased social activities helped too. Also, when you hear from 5 different girls you find attractive that they find you attractive too and they noticed your vitiligo that has removed most pigment from your hands…you gain insight into other peoples thoughts.

I discovered that a smile makes way more powerful an impression that any amount of vitiligo, most times. People can only be as kind to you as you are kind to yourself. Being kind to yourself is hard too. Its a struggle that is worth the discomfort you will feel.

What can change in our lives if we let pain and discomfort to drive us forward rather than keep us down? What can we do if we practice and work and struggle to get better at being us? What lessons will you teach yourself by allowing yourself to fall into an uncomfortable situation? What will discomfort permit you to do?

Embracing Vulnerability, Vitiligo and Ourselves.

Have you been to TED? It is a place to find good presentations of ideas. I go there at least once a week to see what is new or just look for something I have not seen before.

Recently this one talk has captured my attention: The power of vulnerability, by Brene Brown. The talk is about human connection, how it happens, how it works and when it does not work. “When you ask people about connection, the stories they told me were about disconnection.” As people and as people with vitiligo, we know a thing or two about disconnection. “Is there something about me, that if people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection.” It is universal for humans. It is particular to people with vitiligo. We experience a fear of rejection in a way that is different for people without vitiligo. Still, we are all human and we can learn from each other, whether people have vitiligo or not, we can still learn from each other. I would be curious to hear what you all have to say about this talk, embedded below here:

Have you considered vulnerability to be a personal strength? Is it possible that vulnerability allows for significant personal connection? This is what is discussed.

Considering these ideas has brought about there thoughts: We are vulnerable to the people around us and we have vitiligo. We are not vulnerable because we have vitiligo. Vitiligo does not make us vulnerable. We are vulnerable to people because we are people.

We walk outside with spotted skin, two tone skin and hope that we will not be judged less beautiful than others. We hope that people will not notice. We hope that we will be accepted for who we are. We hope that we will be loved in such a way that our vitiligo will not matter. These are human concerns. All humans have these same concerns. The concerns of a person with vitiligo are colored by the disease vitiligo, yes, but they are universal human concerns.

We feel shame about a broad range of things. I wonder if having vitiligo will prevent someone from loving me in the same way someone wonders if they are too quirky enough to be loved, or too this or too that.

There is an endless supply of shame that we don’t confront in our lives. For me, shame will be something that I will confront as best as possible. When I am in the right company, I will talk about it. I will not allow shame to affect my life as it has in the past.

How does shame function in your life? What are you doing to rid yourself of shame?