Annie, 55, has Vitiligo: She is not innocent

Annie, 55, has Vitiligo: She is not innocent

camouflage

The diagnosis of vitiligo also has a major impact on Annie’s life. “I wanted nothing more than for people to see that I had vitiligo,” she says. “I’m Cape Verdean and I love going dark. I did everything I could to camouflage my white spots. I even tried light therapy a while back. Unfortunately, the effect of this is temporary and not good for your skin, you’ll get an unsightly tan.”

And soon the disease begins to affect her psychological state. “I love looking pretty. I’ve always loved short sleeves and a little bit of cleavage. But with vitiligo that’s no longer possible, I felt. I became very insecure.” This is mainly due to the feedback you get from other people. “I felt people’s eyes burning. Everyone commented on my complexion. On the street I was compared to Michael Jackson. I felt so small. I didn’t want to be looked at, I wanted to be normal.”

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black and white

Unfortunately, it’s not just bad reviews from strangers, she says. My family didn’t understand the disease either. They reminded me that no one else in the family had vitiligo and asked if there was anything I could do about the spots. Then I thought: If I could do something about it, I would already do it.

The most hurtful comment came from my brother. A few years ago, he and I had a heated argument. Then he scolded me for being “black and white”. This hurts my soul.”

Annie, 55, suffers from Vitiligo

Hide

Because of the comments Annie is receiving, she is increasingly losing her sanity. “Now when I look at the pictures from the time of the first diagnosis, I see a woman who didn’t wear bright colors but who wore loose-fitting clothes and always walked around with long sleeves. Even though it was thirty degrees, I was dressed in disguise. Even I camouflaged my feet.”

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For nearly twenty years, she has been aware of the pigment spots on her skin every day. The disease was present every day. I kept thinking: As long as people don’t start talking about those spots, as long as they don’t stand out. I was constantly checking that my camouflage makeup was still on and my clothes were still covering up stains.”

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not innocent

For years, Annie knew little about her autoimmune disease. “I just knew your skin was turning white,” she says. “I only knew for about five years that there can also be many other complaints associated with vitiligo.”

You find out during a visit to the doctor. “The doctor insisted on doing all kinds of tests because my complaint might have been related to vitiligo. Those tests showed that I had thalassemia. This is a form of anemia. I also suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency. For some time now I have been suffering from rheumatic complaints which may be also associated with vitiligo.”

Annie believes it is important for people to be aware of the health problems that vitiligo can cause. “Vitiligo is harmless, it’s more than just white spots. Get examined if you have physical complaints as a vitiligo patient, because it can only be related.”

Turn the helm

When Annie turns fifty, she decides to have her old life again. “Before I had vitiligo, I was young and rested. But after the diagnosis, I could no longer look in the mirror normally. With each white spot that came along, I became sad. When I turned 50, I decided: This is an amazing age to reach. I realized I was a strong woman.” physically and mentally.”

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“I don’t have vitiligo, I just have vitiligo,” I realize now. “I’m starting to dress the way I like. I’m wearing short sleeves again, I’m not hiding anymore.” Only in her face she camouflages spots. “I think it’s nice and beautiful to put on makeup. Of course I also use it to hide some blemishes. But now the picture is right again.”

“I’m happy again now. There are days now when I love it. I would say to anyone who has just been diagnosed with Vitiligo, no need to hide. Embrace your beauty. The whole world has a thing.”

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