Vitiligo, Your Doctor, and You
You’ve been patiently waiting, dressed only in a flimsy paper gown, for your doctor to walk in and help you. For months you’ve grown steadily more worried about the white patches suddenly appearing on your skin, and you’re desperate to find out what it is.
The doctor walks in, introduces him/herself, glances down at the chart in his hands, looks back to you and says, “So, why have you come in today?” You explain in detail the growing white blotches of skin; how they’ve just come out of nowhere and that you’re scared of why this is happening to you.
He takes your hand in his, analyzes the white patch, and causally delivers his findings. “You have vitiligo. There is no cure. It won’t kill you, it’s just going to change your skin tone. Nothing to worry about and there’s really nothing you can do about it.”
Was this similar to your experience when you found out you had vitiligo? Many people have told me of their despair of not only finding out that they have vitiligo but at the callous nature with which their doctor gave them the diagnosis. Sadly, it’s more common than not for doctors to be flippant with patients who have vitiligo. Rarely will time be given to explain the condition or to give solid recommendations of potentially viable treatments- either to try to regain pigmentation or therapists who can offer help with the emotional aspects of vitiligo.
You may be left feeling powerless, but you’re not.
You have rights as a patient to demand better and more sympathetic care from your doctor.
You have the right to change doctors if you’re not content with either the emotional or physical care your current doctor offers.
Most importantly, you have the power of self-reliance; if information about current vitiligo treatments isn’t handed to you, you can search for it yourself:
- Call local dermatologists to find one who specializes in treating vitiligo.
- Call therapists in your area to find someone who specializes in body image changes.
My one piece of advice as to what not to do is: Don’t scour the Internet for a quick cure. There isn’t one. There are a few therapies used currently that do help some, but at this time there isn’t a method being used that works on everyone.
I’ve done laser treatments; there was some repigmentation, but most of it faded once treatment stopped.
Currently I am taking vitamins and I sit in the sun to help stimulate pigmentation naturally. Though I haven’t found a treatment that works for me, I do use Vitiligo Cover lotion weekly to cover the white patches; I don’t see them or worry about anyone else noticing it.