Saturday, November 21, 2015

Vitiligo! Woah-oh!

Vitiligo!  Woah-oh!

No, it's not a song sung by Dean Martin back in his glorious heyday of the 50's. It is rather a disease I happen to have contracted some 20 years ago --- very much not my glorious heyday or the 50's --- that has somehow now returned to stalk me once more.  
And frankly scare the shit out of me too.

Vitiligo Whoah-oh! (actually, Vitiligo) is a condition that causes the skin to lose color in blotches. It may be localized, as in my case, or it may be all over the body so that you eventually wind up looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost. That's just what this liberal needed at this stage of my life: a disease to make me look more white! 

One fine day back in the last century, I began to notice white blotches erupting on my arms, hands, and way down where the sun don't shine.  I swiftly went to my family doctor who failed dismally to diagnose the condition, insisting it was a rash I picked up while gardening despite my protestations that the closest I ever got to gardening was paying the guy who does my gardening.

The rash gradually subsided but all of its handiwork did not, and I was left, among other things, with a gentlemen's genital that looks like a Popsicle with two different flavors, and flavors that have proved appealing for very few at that. But those rash remnants aside, I did not think about the condition for many years thereafter.  

That is until last month when I awoke one morning, after typically cursing the alarm, to find an alarming sight.  The back of both of my hands were as white as Mickey Mouse's!  I counted up fingers to determine that I still had the requisite five per hand, Mickey having four, and bounded into the bathroom to get a better look.

It had all seemingly happened overnight.  As I flicked on the light in the bathroom to check my hands out more thoroughly I looked up and....


My forehead was as white as broadcast television in the 1950's!  I'd become a photographic negative of Harry Potter!  Damn, I certainly didn't need to be losing more cuteness points at this stage of the game, especially considering how few I had left to lose!

In a panic, this time I went to a prominent dermatologist named Dr. Joy Davis. She explained that what I had was a condition called Vitiligo Whoah-oh!

That's enough, Dean.

"This is the same condition that Michael Jackson had," Dr. Davis explained, "except of course being white and Jewish, you have no associated rhythm."

"But what does all this mean?" I asked her with increasing alarm.

"Looks like you first got this 20 years ago, then it went dormant.  It often appears on extremities like the hands, arms, face, and genital area."

Checkmark there.

"Now it's returned, including an extremely unsightly blotch on your forehead." 

"Thanks so much for the observation, Doctor. But what can I do?"

"It may stop on its own and sometimes it even reverses itself. I can prescribe a steroid cream that might help."

"Well, that's encouraging," I said, brightening.  

"Or it may continue to progress rapidly until Frosty the Snowman melts himself in shame."

Nothing like a dermatologist with a good sense of humor to make sure you take your medicine.  So I've been working diligently with the cream, and I am getting some results. The back of my hands look a bit better and even some of the 20 year old blotches on my arms are improving.  But my forehead? 

It continues to look as if someone shmeared cream cheese upon it.  And I hate cream cheese.  

I suppose I'm lucky I've come down with a disease that doesn't kill you, make you blind, or turn you into a fan of ABBA, and you've got to be thankful for that. So I'll continue to battle my Vitiligo tooth, nail, and steroid cream until the battle is won. 

Or until I vanish into a snow storm.  That's the way it is with Vitiligo Whoah-oh!

Oh shut the fuck up, Dean!


Note: The picture above is not actually my hand. Neither is the picture above of Dean Martin actually my hand either.  My thanks to @JoyRossDavis, not really a dermatologist, for her support and inspiration.


Glynn said...

Perry - sorry to hear this.

And here I had you down as a fan of "Dancing Queen."

Perry Block said...

If it comes down to Vitiligo or listening to Dancing Queen, just call me Frosty!

Doreen McGettigan said...

I am so sorry, Perry but very glad it can't kill you. I hope it reverses itself and goes dormant again until you are too old to care.

Intangible Hearts said...

I had rosacea which made me pinker. Hope it doesn't snow while you're having sex outside. :) It could be hit and miss when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie.

Perry Block said...

Thank you, Doreen. So far it is not too bad, and even though I am old, I am not too old to care. Hopefully I'll make it to one of your meetings one of these days and you won't hardly notice it at all. Thanks for writing!

Perry Block said...

Actually should I ever have sex outside it would be great if it snowed. The woman couldn't see who I was and might think I was somebody a heck of a lot cooler. That would be true amore! What is rosacea anyway?

Russell said...

Are you sure you haven't been playing in the bleach again? It's probably due to all that old crooner music you're listening too. May I suggest Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale?"

Alicia said...

Perry, I'm certainly glad this won't kill you. But, like you , I want to know, "Why the forehead?" I mean really. Insult upon injury. Keep up with the cream. I hope it wins out.

Perry Block said...

That's a good song. I also like "Nights in White Satin" and "White Room" and The Average White Band and Barry White. Not to mention Perry White. Uh-oh! No wonder.

Perry Block said...

Yeah, why the forehead? As if to rub it in that I don't have the hair to cover it anymore? Well, I'm unlikely to grow the hair again, so the cream has just gotta work.

Anonymous said...

How is it that I'm just now seeing this hilarious article?! Oh, I am sorry, Perry, for all your white troubles. Hope you have a sparkly glove on hand and are practicing your Moon Walk. Seriously, though.....never mind. I can't be serious when I'm talking to you!

Perry Block said...

Yikes! I think I better get on it. Thanks for all the support, Joy.