Slowly, ever so slowly I have noticed a change to my face since having had Munch. It started as though I had sunburn around my lips and I gave it not much thought even though I am not prone to burning at all. I put it down to a change in hormones and carried on as normal. The change has crept up without me realising until this past month. The pigment from my skin is slowly but surely vanishing in an ever increasing area spreading outwards from around my lips. I've never been one to pay that much attention to my face other than to make sure I moisturise but this has unnerved me.
It is my face. It is the part of me that people look at and see every day. It is my identity in part and watching the colour slowly leave parts of my skin has rocked my confidence. My brain tells me that in an ideal world it shouldn't matter how I look but part of me is struggling to deal with the change that will keep coming. How far and how fast will this loss of colour go? How are those around me going to react? How will I deal with their reactions? How will it affect my son growing up? Do I cover it up or do I wear it strong and proud and set about to educate those that don't understand it?
For now, I am slowly coming to terms with the condition that is changing my face - vitiligo. It is one where the melanocytes, which are responsible for giving skin its colour, become damaged or destroyed and result in the skin turning white in patches. I have an appointment with my doctor to discuss my options but for now I am using makeup to cover it up. In all my adult years I have never thought to put a face on.... until now. Well, not even a full face but just enough to cover the patches that exist right now. I am not ready in myself to deal with any comments and questions from strangers, or even friends, so I am 'hiding' until I am stronger. The tears flow freely as I sit and write this. This is my reality, it is not one I ever imagined, it is not life threatening yet having it upsets me that I have cried many tears this week.
I had a total stranger say to me, "What's wrong with your face?" at work this week. That comment triggered something in me and once home I sobbed in a blubbering heap on Sprout. That day made my vitiligo real and since then my heart and brain have been attempting to deal with the knowledge. I am fearful and anxious of what the future brings - there will come a time when I accept the changes that are to come graciously and with ease but I'm working towards that. My face is only a minor part of who I am. I just need to have faith that people will be able to look past my face and see the person I am.