Vitiligo foot by Nerissa Hosein in sweet T&T for Sweet TnT Magazine, Culturama Publishing Company, for news in Trinidad, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, with positive how to photography.

Living with Vitiligo, it’s not contagious

By Nerissa Hosein. Last year, while my family was going about their usual routines of life – juggling school, karate, and social activities – a little white spot started showing up on my son’s hip. I noticed it one day while he was getting ready for school. Vitiligo.

Thought it was a scrape

At first, I thought he had cut himself and had scraped his skin. I asked him about it and he nonchalantly replied, “It had been there a few days.” He didn’t seem bothered but, it was a bit bothersome to me. When my husband came home, I showed him. Our son showed us he had a smaller spot on his hand as well. It was my husband who first said the word, Vitiligo.

Researched Vitiligo online

Fear trickled down my spine. I started reading up on the disease and made a call to his pediatrician to get it looked at. I did my research online and I admit I was scared. As far as I understood, it was a skin disease which included the loss of pigment to the skin. Words such as “no known treatment” and “irreversible” online stuck out like a sore thumb. I decided to wait and see the doctors.

My son had Vitiligo…it was confirmed… I cried

His pediatrician recommended him to a specialist and the specialist confirmed that my son had Vitiligo. I admit when it was confirmed, I cried… I felt very lost that day.
Vitiligo has no known cure and it can appear anywhere on the body. The affected areas are almost completely white and there is no known way to control the spread of the disease. It is an auto immune disease and will be with him for the rest of his life.

Good news and bad news

The good news is that it’s not life threatening. The bad news is, we have no idea how it will spread. As a parent your instinct is to protect your child. You want them to be their best and you want them to feel welcomed and safe wherever they are.
My worry for him is if it spreads how will it affect the way people look at him. We all know how cruel kids can be, how much bullying takes place in school. I’m scared how kids will react to him and how he will feel about himself.



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It’s not as bad as it seems

We started meeting with the specialists on a regular basis to treat it and find out ways we may be able to contain it. She’s a very good doctor and explained to us that it’s not as bad as it seems.

Peers are understanding and respectful

It’s been six months now since he started treatment. It hasn’t stopped the spread but it has contained it a bit so we are hopeful. For the most part, my son’s spirit is still filled with childish innocence and I am so thankful for that. Because his marks are mostly on his feet and legs it’s not that noticeable. He’s been asked a few questions from his peers in karate but they have been understanding and very respectful.

Vitiligo is NOT contagious

My hope in going forward is that we will be able to contain the spread. And that even if it does people will not treat my child any differently because he may appear so. My son is a brilliant child with a bright future ahead. I know the cruel world he is stepping into and I as his mother can only shun him from ignorance for so long.

We will always protect him

I hope the people coming into his life can understand that Vitiligo is NOT contagious and that he is the same person he has always been. Most of all, I want to make sure he knows nothing has changed. He is my son, he is loved unconditionally, and his father and I will always protect him to the best of our ability. It is my prayer as his parent.

Remember the name, Vitiligo

So the next time you see someone walking down the road with a pigment problem such as this, remember it has a name, it is not contagious, and that the person with it is a normal human being who just has a little skin condition. It is nothing to laugh at or make that person feel any different because they are not.

February 2017

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