Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Joys of Transparency

Yet one more chronic condition to add to the list. Quite possibly the first time in my life I'm overjoyed to be so pale as to be practically transparent.

Apparently I've developed vitiligo (pronounced vittle-I-go) - or more to the point, have had it for at least a year or so. Vitiligo causes patches of skin to lose their melanocytes, and turn pale - for all intents and purposes, you break out in albino spots. It's highly associated with Hashimoto's (about 21% of all Hashimoto's patients develop it sooner or later), so not exactly a stunning surprise there. (Though it would be nice if the Hashimoto's information sites (or my endocrinologist) had mentioned the connection.) There are a few treatments, all for the cosmetic issues rather than for the source. Fortunately for me, I'm so pale the only one who can even find the lighter patches without a strong light and having it pointed out, is me. So not exactly a major cosmetic problem. Even a massive outbreak of demelanization would only mean I start wearing foundation. Well, plus any patches on my scalp would grow gray hair, but my mother started going gray in her twenties while I'm 38 with no gray at all, so that wouldn't exactly be a tragedy.

This feels very tree-in-the-forest. If I have a condition whose only negative aspect is cosmetic, and the cosmetic doesn't affect me, does it count?


Becky said...

I'd say no. If it doesn't bother you, it doesn't count. Would you have to be more careful about sun exposre, though?

PerpetualBeginner said...

Yes. As far as I can tell, the affected skin patches are essentially albino, which means they will burn very readily. Plus any darkening of the surrounding skin will make them stand out more. Since I'm already fairly good about sunscreen use though, it shouldn't be a big change or concern. I just need to up my daily sunscreen from 12 to something a little stronger.