Cover image credit Ash Soto.
Brown, white, speckled, polka-dotty,
Unpredictable and altogether spotty,
Attempting a cure might drive one batty,
In some folks leading to social anxiety.
Regarding this condition,there are two main sub-types,
On the body, appearing on either one or both sides,
Segmental vs non-segmental, if you’re feeling specific,
The symmetrical sort, most common and prolific.
The cause is unclear, ill-defined and uncertain,
Said to be due to an auto-immune reaction,
May also be influenced by genetic origin,
Injury or stress; a mind-body connection.
Those who have it are not contagious,
It’s harmless, don’t worry, it isn’t infectious,
It’s just melanin… missing in places,
Upper or lower limbs, bodies or faces.
Michael Jackson had it,
The most famously afflicted,
Winnie Harlow, Amitabh Bachan,
Jon Hamm from “Mad Men”.
Treatment is tailored for each individual,
Phototherapy, steroids, calcipotriol,
What works for one person, may not for another,
The way forward is via a process of trial and error.
Some choose to go through an alternate pathway,
Avoiding dairy, gluten, anything inflammatory,
Saying no to nightshades and yes to ginseng,
Hiding from the sun vs daily sunbathing.
There are various creams or lotions available,
Guaranteed cures marketed to the vulnerable,
The recommendations may at times be confusing,
However, results may often be dismal and discouraging.
Vitiligo can be an incredible teacher,
That which does not kill you, indeed makes you stronger,
Affirming the importance of self-acceptance,
A positive attitude and having self-confidence.
Not apathy or losing hope for a cure,
Rather, having faith and courage that’s pure,
Developing character and strength from within,

Ultimately, all said and done, it is only skin.

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Reshma Stanislaus is a medical doctor who enjoys literature and writing poetry, as well as articles, especially those related to Psychology. She can be contacted at Reshma penned this poem in conjunction with World Vitiligo Day. Read her previous poem here:

POETRY | Depression By Any Other Name by Reshma Clare Stanislaus


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