I’m a day late but I have a VERY good reason and it’s the reason I’m thankful today (and yesterday and EVERYDAY).
Today I am thankful that Lucy did not glow yesterday!
On Tuesday, Lu had her 3 year old well child appointment (early) because she needed some vaccines for school. Our doctor (who is also a good family friend) asked if I had any other concerns. I brought up how her arms were splotchy. At first I thought it was uneven sunscreen application, then I thought it was a reaction to Eczema but I wanted to check with the doctor to make sure.
He looked, and looked, and looked, and looked at it. He then told me that it could be one of three things. 1. Eczema reaction, 2. Bacterial Infection (which can be fixed with some cream, or 3. Vitiligo (which cannot be cured and is something she has to deal with for the rest of her life).
His first recommendation was to take a wait and see attitude and to recheck it in a few months. As he looked at it more and more he decided that he was “almost certain” that it was Vitiligo and since it’s a very cosmetic thing and that she was a girl, that he wanted her to see a dermatologist sooner rather than later. He warned me that it could take up to 6 weeks to get in and that there was really nothing that could be done but that he wanted a specialist’s opinion.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune problem where all the pigmentation in certain areas of the skin goes away and turns white. The most notable person to have had it is Michael Jackson. It can be mild or severe and when severe all the websites said it was “disfiguring”. It would make her more susceptible to other autoimmune issues but otherwise is not harmful.
So this is not life threatening but it IS life altering and I freaked out. I have cried more in the last few days then I have cried in a VERY long time. All I could think was that Lucy was going to be different and ridiculed and made fun of. I was different and ridiculed and made fun of as a child and I grew out of it (I was really tall and mature at a very young age-I haven’t grown since I was 10 and I had purple lenses in my glasses due to dyslexia). I grew out of all of those things but still hold the emotional scars. It broke my heart to know that Lucy would go through that herself and that it was something that would always be there and that she would always be different and looked at funny*. Believe me, I am so thankful for a healthy child but I was just so sad for her. I didn’t want her to have to go through that her entire life. It just felt like such a struggle that I didn’t want her to have to endure. I KNOW that everyone around her would support her and make her feel comfortable in her skin, I was just worried and a very upset Mama Bear.
Thankfully, the dermatologist was able to get us in immediately. That sort of freaked me out since I knew that it normally takes a long time to get in but I took the appointment. When the nurse led us back she said that we had been the talk of the office because Lucy was so young to have Vitiligo. I freaked out even more. The dermatologist came in. Did an exam and then took us to a completely dark room and shined a black light on Lu. Apparently, Vitiligo glows under a black light. LUCY DID NOT GLOW!
The dermatologist was very happy to report that she most probably did NOT have Vitilgo and that she was just having a reaction to her eczema. There is still a chance that she has it (and it’s in the very early stages) but it’s not likely. If it gets worse, I am to take her in and we go in for a recheck in 4 months.
I almost cried tears of joy and hugged the derm I was so happy. If it was Vitiligo we would have dealt with it but it was such a relief to hear that it was “just” Eczema.
Lu now has a new skin care regime. She gets CeraVe lotion twice a day, a shower/bath up to once a day with CeraVe cleanser (we were only giving her one once a week because of the Eczema-which the doctor said is a myth) and after the shower/bath we slather her in CeraVe (we’ve already been using the CeraVe). We also need to be sure to be VERY liberal with the sunscreen. Sunscreen is Lu’s number one irritants that cause the Eczema and I’ve only found one sunscreen that works (Nature’s Gate) that I can’t get in Boise and have to order. She recommended Cetaphil’s new sunscreen and gave us a few samples. I really hope it’ll work for Lu as it would be so nice to have easy access to sunscreen!
We go back in four months for a re-check but right now, I am very thankful for “just” Eczema!!!
*I realize (and my husband has pointed out) that my reaction to the diagnosis of Vitiligo was a bit dramatic. It’s not really that big of a deal but I think as someone with my background of body image issues, it just really hit home and made me incredibly sad for my little girl. I, by no means, think that anyone with Vitiligo is a freak or “disfigured” but I know that some people DO and that’s what I was reacting to.