I’m getting married in less than a year. If there’s anything that comes along with the happiness and dread you feel planning a wedding, the pressure to look impeccable is also a burden to bear. “Aren’t you supposed to be on a diet for this wedding?” we’d see, commented on pictures of food on Facebook.
But when aren’t we pressured to look our best and be at our best, meanwhile hypocritically telling women to embrace their curves. Which is it?
On top of that, we live in a complexion focused society. It’s a nicer way of saying “racist,” I guess, but a way to drive home my point.
So, naturally, I’ve begun focusing on my appearance more and more as time goes by. I’m looking at my weight, watching what I’m eating, looking at the length of my hair, the whiteness of my teeth and the pores on my skin. On top of that, looking at my vitiligo.
I wish I could plan where the color was going to disappear from next, but I can’t. I wish I could at the very least, design my spots so that applying makeup wouldn’t be as complicated as it can be.
Before my sister went with my parents to Mexico, and before our engagement shoot, she took me to Sephora at JC Penny here at Ford City Mall. Though 7 years younger, she knows more about makeup than I do. She wanted to take me to get some new foundation, eyeliner and anything else I may need for the shoot. I sat down to try on foundations with my sister giving her opinions. I saw the makeup on my face, but didn’t see a difference between the brands. I wasn’t used to looking at that type of thing. Instead when I looked in the mirror, I looked at how the foundation looked on my spots. How much correction did it give me where I didn’t look out of place anymore. Was it going to color me in or make me all one color? Was this breathable makeup, or paint?
I had accepted the vitiligo some time ago, already. I’ve learned to laugh at myself as necessary, make it a point to talk about it instead of ignore it and understood that no matter how much makeup I may pile on my face, I wasn’t going to fully cover or erase my spots. And I was fine with that. Sure, I hated that I couldn’t tan and be darker anymore during the summer and that if I forgot sunscreen even for 30 minutes outside, something was going to burn. But it’s purely cosmetic.
About a month ago, I was on a group page on Facebook and came across a post from a young woman claiming that she was working with this great company that has figured out how to reverse vitiligo. I clicked on the link. I saw testimonials. That was the first thing I saw. A mother talking about how it helped her little girl; a young woman who developed it later in her life claiming this had helped her and a man talking about how he’s seen the effects of it. No complaints, obviously. The claim that it was all natural caught my eye as well.
I started to think about it. Should I reach out to this girl? Would I be able to talk to her and ask questions? I shared it with my mom and sister. “Do you know if it really works?” I didn’t know what to tell them other than I had seen the same testimonials they had. “What’s in it?” my mother asked. I didn’t know that either. I thought about it a little more. What’s the hurt in asking and trying? This is no more a part of me than was my full color 5 years ago.
I got in touch with the young woman and she was super excited to speak with me. We messaged back and forth and I told her I was a diabetes blogger and that I had written about both conditions in the past. I showed her posts where I spoke up about my vitiligo and where I had been an advocate for diabetes. She definitely wanted to get me on the phone.
I called her. She sounded young, first thing I noticed. We exchanged stories. She was also from Chicago, now living in LA. She said that everything she saw was so great. Yeah, I kind of know that. She liked it so much she shared it with the owner of the company and he wanted to talk to me, too.
A millionaire Latino with an accent, he explained how he got the best of the best together to try to find a “cure” of some sort for vitiligo. His primary priority is for children, so that they’re not teased or looked at differently, helping them young so that they can, I suppose, grow up “normally.”
You have to fix it from the inside out, they said, because it’s an autoimmune condition. The funny thing to me is that the owner mistakenly asks me if using insulin means you have “worsened” diabetes. No, I said. And I had to explain that whether or not you take insulin doesn’t mean your diabetes is worse. I was surprised that he wouldn’t have known that. He didn’t claim to be one of the doctors, I thought. Just the guy that orchestrated this whole thing.
Ok, I said, I’m interested in using this product. What’s in it? “There’s nothing in it that you can’t buy at the local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe,” he said. “It’s just the way that the ingredients are put together,” he concludes. Sure, I said.
I warned him of my cynicism. “Growing up with a condition that strangers think they have a cure to is the breeding ground for cynicism. I’m skeptical of a lot, too.” I figured I’d reinforce my feelings on the subject.
They were going to let me try it. “All we want is your testimony,” they said. That sounded fair. If anything, I could really write truthfully on the matter since this is something affecting my body. I suppose it’s also important to note that I didn’t talk to my doctor before taking this. They tell you that you should. But who does? When I received the bottles in the mail, I read the ingredients. When I understood, and could read every vitamin in the bottle, I stopped worrying about it and started taking the instructed tablespoon every morning before eating breakfast. One table spoon. That’s it.
I took pictures of all my spots so that I could later compare and see a change, see the difference that I had seen on the testimonials. If it helped those people, it could help me, too, right? I wasn’t buying into Jack’s magic beans because I believed the pictures. At least, I think I wanted to believe them. Taking this concoction of vitamins was like buying a lottery ticket for the Mega Millions. You know what I mean—for a minute you believe you have the ticket to making your dreams come true. That this time, you actually believe you have a winning ticket. If not the major jackpot, then enough to buy you a new house and save up for future inheritance. As you drive yourself home, you feel safe and secure, almost excited, because tonight you may actually find yourself having a heart attack from the shocking truth that you could be a multi-millionaire. That’s how I felt taking this vitamin shots (in liquid format).
Every day, I thought to myself, they told me it usually affects your face first. I didn’t see any changes on my face. I kept taking it. Every day, I took this pink, gooey liquid that smelled like cat food and looked like Italian salad dressing.
I haven’t taken any more pictures since the first time because I didn’t see a difference.
About two weeks ago, before leaving for Michigan for a weekend trip, I had come out of the shower and was going to brush my teeth. I wrapped the towel around my chest as I looked at myself in the foggy mirror. On my chest, directly under my chin I have a series of little white spots. I noticed that in two, little brown freckles were filling them in. My natural color was filling in on them and as I started to look at some others on my arms and shoulders, I noticed little freckles in a couple of them. There weren’t many freckles, at least not enough to touch or look filled in.
I showed my fiancé and my sister who both saw it and said, “Wow, it actually worked?” There’s a part of me that’s super excited to keep drinking this GoodbyeVitiligo, while there’s still some skepticism there. I don’t want to put my eggs all in one basket because I’ve never had this opportunity before. This is the first time something that people said would work, worked. It’s a small example so far, but for right now, I feel like one of those people in the testimonials.
I also want to be clear, that I decided to try this because 1. I could read every vitamin and had taken some of them already. 2. It wasn’t a lot to ask in exchange to try it. 3. If it didn’t work, I knew I would be OK.
I went in without any expectations. So, the fact that I see this little improvement is something astonishing for me. I would like to have my skin color back for the pure safety of it (I hate getting burned and I don’t always remember sunscreen) and quite honestly, I would appreciate going back to the way I looked. I know I’m not an ugly person regardless of my color and how much of it my face and body has. However, I would want it all back if I could have it.
I’m going to keep taking it. I want to see if this continues to work. If it does, I’d consider myself a very lucky woman. Not only would I gain my color back, but I would have strengthened my immune system in order to beat this condition. That, to me, is miraculous.