Truth is sometimes far stranger than fiction.
I am a beautiful woman. I love feeling beautiful. It is easy for you the reader to have a mental picture of a vain little woman beginning her blog post with words of self glory, but this declaration is not born out of vanity, just a heightened sense of gratitude and awe. I say this because I know its cost. Not the monetary cost-but the emotional, spiritual and physical cost.
Let me begin by acknowledging my faith for without the redeeming power and restoring message of Jesus the Christ I would not have found my true identity and may not have lived to tell this tale.
Around the years 2009-2010 I developed vitiligo. Such an innocuous word. Vitiligo imparted on my face a visually disfiguring disease. It began as a small white patch. Progressively white patches of all shapes and sizes began to form on my face. Some were small, some were large. Some grew so much that they coalesced with neighbouring patches to become what seemed to me like a giant monstrosity.
Those were years that the only photographs I took of myself were in the privacy of my bedroom to assess the extent of my 'patches'. Throughout my pregnancy with S, and in the months following his birth my vitiligo grew even further with a ferocious intensity. And by August-Sept of 2011 it reached its peak. By then I had tried almost every supplement and trick found on the internet, used homoeopathy and so much more.
Almost parallel to the growth and advance of vitiligo on my face my spiritual life too began to change. It was as though my Lord was feeding me himself with the food and nourishment necessary for this journey. I had only just recovered from a period of depression and anxiety and was just slowly crutching my inner self toward normalcy. Had the vitiligo attacked me during the heights of my depression I doubt if I would have even been here to tell this tale today. There is a time and place for everything - even illness!
The first verse in my new spiritual journey were from John 20:17 where He taught me that God is my God and His God, My Father and His Father. This revelation came on a personal level and was like a bolt of spiritual lightning.
I know its hard to describe vitiligo without images. Though I do have a few taken on my mobile phone I do not feel ready to share them with the world wide web. Instead, I shall try to draw you a verbal picture. Imagine my face or yours, it doesn't matter. Imagine a strip of really white skin just above each eyebrow of yours, a strip which is actually wider than your actual eyebrows. That's just the starter. Now just under the eyebrow hair and below just where the eyelid begins imagine you have a few irregular shaped white patches as well.
Coming down to the nose - both sides of the nasal bridge had irregular, difficult to camouflage, light and dark areas. At one point the patches on either side kind of met in the middle. Now, the cheeks - where do I even begin? Lets just say that I had 2 or 3 separate patches between 1/2 an inch to 1 inch in size. I cannot say diameter because none of these patches had a regular shape and this made applying any camouflage makeup a dread.
On my chin I had another patch at the pointy part and then one large one under my chin which was only visible if I lift my chin a bit. Then of course my ears, which I had almost forgot. Both my ears were almost entirely white Did I look like a world map? Maybe I did!
The problem with camouflage.
When my dermatologist first suggested meeting a camouflage nurse as part of the treatment I didn't even know what he meant. For me camouflage was only linked to chameleons and the army. I was so clueless I had to ask them to spell the word for me just to make sure I heard it right. Things didn't get any better from there.
I met the camouflage nurse armed with her palette of shades. Being a dark skinned person living in a light skinned country has many challenges. The one you might have never heard of till this day is this - its so darn hard to get a colour shade to match with your exact skin tone. Lets forget exact-maybe even close. So my beautiful nurse came up with a solution. She would prescribe me two different shades which when blended together in a 'certain' proportion would give a slightly similar result to my skin tone. She was doing her best.
Not only was blending this once or twice a day in the right proportion going to be a problem, but also finding the time to do it with two school going kids and a newborn babe in tow.
The other issue I faced was that almost all my patches were discrete yet variegated. In lay mans terms they were separate but each ones edges were so irregular that applying any form of makeup was tedious. My natural skin was so dark and the applied camouflage didn't match the surrounding skin. In effect the camouflage helped tone down the whiteness of the patches so that it wouldn't jar the senses of the person looking at me. But in no way did it hide the fact that I had such a disease.
Healing - The light at the end of the tunnel
This battle of the colour's took a very different hue from September 2011. From September 2011 up til December 2011 my body went into an accelerated phase of healing. The healing was so rapid that it was as though it were happening before my very eyes. Dark, hyper-pigmented healing shields advanced from the edges of each and every hypo-pigmented white patch. These dark healing shields advanced with such ferocity and speed that they soon overtook the whiteness in its entirety leaving very little as vestiges above my eyebrow.
Though the dark splodges were unsightly in itself they were almost like a gospel revelation in itself. My God had proved that my body was capable of healing itself. My God had proved that my whole unadulterated faith in Him was enough. My God had also proved that He was really and genuinely my Father. For me the last revelation in itself was worth all the sorrow and torment of my entire life.
But yes, I knew He was not finished with me.
And yes, this story is not yet over.