YOUR STORY, YOU IN A NUTSHELL:
My name is Anna, I am married and the proud mother of 3 children.
I have the particularity of having very white skin, totally devoid of coloring.
Indeed, I have had vitiligo for 30 years, a skin disease characterized by a loss of melanin. More specifically, vitiligo leads to the disappearance of melanocytes, the cells responsible for the color of the skin.
I was born black and seeing my skin whiten over the years has had a huge impact on my life and my relationship to my body.
YOUR MEDICAL CAREER:
I was 8 years old when a dermatologist told my parents that I had vitiligo.
As far as I can remember, I haven't really understood what that meant exactly or what it meant for me. I just realized that was what was causing the white spots to appear on my body.
Unfortunately for me, the dermatologist prescribed me a treatment that accelerated the whitening of my skin. I went totally white in less than 6 months!
Over the next 8 years, I followed dozens of treatments that were just as ineffective as they were expensive, with the exception of the last one, which I had to stop when I arrived in France.
Indeed, this treatment required long exposure to the sun after the application of a cream that stimulated the production of melanin. I had started producing melanin again but my skin was far from even. I had spots, especially on my face and arms.
I was 16 when dermatologists advised me to stop all treatment because my skin was mostly white. It then took 5 years for my skin to become completely white again.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
My biggest challenge has been to have the most normal life possible, both on a daily basis to live with the eyes of others and for self-esteem. I hated my life for a long time because I felt that this difference prevented me from being happy. I hated looking at myself in a mirror because I couldn't stand my reflection. At one point in my life, I came to think about suicide.
WHAT IMPACT DID VITILIGO HAVE ON YOUR HISTORY?
Vitiligo has transcended my life, it's even the whole story of my life!
From a heavy burden to bear, he has become my difference, my strength. From a young woman who felt bad about herself and terribly complexed, I managed to become a woman with great resilience and real self-confidence.
My passion for fashion has been a real therapy for me and allowed me to overcome my fears by boosting my self-esteem. I also created, in 2017, a fashion blog: www.annafashiontherapy.com
I know I wouldn't have been the same without vitiligo and I want to say luckily!
Vitiligo taught me humility, benevolence towards myself and also others and above all to discover a strength in myself that I did not suspect.
WITH YOUR LOVED ONES HOW IS IT GOING?
I consider myself very lucky in my life.
I have a close-knit family that has given me a lot of love.
I was protected throughout my childhood and even after by my parents, my brother and my sister who are real pillars.
Later, I found love with a capital A when I couldn't believe it, at a time when I felt so ugly and unlovable.
And that love changed my life and continues to do so 19 years later!
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SUN?
Shortly after being diagnosed with vitiligo, I discovered the dangers of the sun at my expense. My skin being completely devoid of melanin, I had to systematically protect it from the sun at the risk of getting sunburn. And it was not easy. I had to wear long clothes despite the heat and I always had a sun visor on me.
The few times I forgot to protect myself, I literally burned my skin to the point of not being able to leave my house for several days.
Outings like going to the beach or taking a simple excursion required anticipation and a lot of caution, sometimes with the feeling of not being able to enjoy it like the others.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
Today I learned to deal with my skin and protect myself from the sun: it's sunscreen with the highest possible protection index and I avoid exposing myself to the sun for a long time, especially the sun. especially with a big hat.
When it comes to make-up too, I always choose a BB cream and a foundation with SPF.
One of my favorite quotes is “as long as there is life, there is hope”.
I'm not an eternal optimist, I even tend to be brooding sometimes, but this quote boosts me every time and reminds me that there is nothing irreversible except death.
A TIP FROM "GRANNY"?
I want to give advice that I wish someone had given me several years ago: live life to the fullest! Live intensely every moment spent with those you love and live your passions to the fullest.
Each day is a new opportunity to do better than the day before, we don't have to let the slightest annoyance or the slightest problem ruin our lives.