Twitter Tuesday: Vitiligo

Well sadly noone participated in this weeks Twitter Tuesday, which was: "have you heard of Vitiligo?" Which goes to show you how little people know about this condition, when they won't tweet about it. Maybe they thought it was a prank, but let me tell you. Vitiligo is far from a joke.

Vitiligo is a condition in which your skin loses melanin, the pigment that determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or no longer form melanin, causing slowly enlarging white patches of irregular shapes to appear on your

In normal English: the condition causes white patches or spots to appear on your skin. That's a photo of one of my hands. I've had the condition for about 15 years or so. There is no official cure. There are experimental treatments that will slow the process of pigmentation down, but it takes weeks, even months for you to start noticing the effects. Lord knows how long it'll take before you're cured. let's not even talk about how much they cost! It is not contagious. You can't catch it from kissing or touching. It's a skin condition not aids. Back when I first saw a doctor for it, he said it happens in one out of every 100 people. Ha, yeah right. I think he meant 1/1000.. The condition does not affect our health, we are not disabled in anyway. We are regular human beings.

My left elbow.
While Vitiligo does no physical harm. it sure does a lot of damage emotionally. If Micheal Jackson, a rich man, a famous man could not deal with the embarrassment of the condition (note that he bleached his skin to avoid further damage to his career.) How can us ordinary people deal with it? I've lost friends, been picked on, bullied, starred at, laughed at etc. No I'm not just talking about when I was a teenager, folks this is an everyday thing! At work, at the mall, at college, heck even at church people stare. Anywhere public I go its the same problem. Over the years I got so tired of it that I took to wearing long sleeves all year long. It didn't matter if it were 20 degrees or 90. I wore long sleeves all the time! People wonder why I love winter so much. Simple two reasons: 1. Those with Vitiligo should not be in the sun often as it raises our chances of developing skin cancer and 2. It gives me a reason to cover up my body.

I hate going to the beach or to water parks. I also have the condition on my knees and it never fails. The lifeguards always stare at my knees as I'm putting myself into position to go down a water slide. I swear, one time 5 people drowned while the lifeguard looked at my knees! I honestly don't know which I hate more: When people ask questions about it or when they don't and just stare.

We are normal people, but there are times where people make us feel as if we weren't normal. Like we aren't humans. We feel bad for ourselves, not because we wake up one morning and decided to feel bad for ourselves, we feel bad about ourselves because people make us feel bad. You know the old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me"? I would much rather get hit with sticks and stones than have to hear the chatter about my skin. Words DO hurt, there is no denying that. The condition may not be life threatening, but emotionally, it beats us up pretty badly.

Below is a copy of my second book "Down the Drain and Out the Gutter: Story of my Life." In which a chapter is dedicated to my struggles with the condition. You can enter the giveaway bu joining Goodreads. (sign up via facebook, twitter or email/password.)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Down the Drain and out the Gutter by David A. Santos

Down the Drain and out the Gutter

by David A. Santos

Giveaway ends October 20, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win