She Was Hiding Her Body for Decades. Now She Reveals the Reason…
Lisa suffers from a rare and chronic autoimmune disease known as scleroderma, symptoms of which include red splotches on the skin. As a result, she is uncomfortable with her entire body even though she isn’t vain, self-loathing, or overly critical. Lisa might look like an average 41-year-old suburbanite, particularly at a glance. She, however, devoted 29 years to keeping her insecurities concealed. Lisa was hiding her body for a many years and here is her story.
Unsightly spots began emerging all over her body immediately after her diagnosis at the age of 10. As a result, Lisa started using heavy foundation to cover these spots before she was 12. Since then, she had never allowed anyone apart from immediate family to see her without makeup. She even went out of her way to find garments that hid her deformed, contracted, skinny legs and arms.
For about three decades now, Lisa had never left her house without effectively hiding her condition. Unfortunately, these tenacious efforts at appearing normal took a toll on her self-esteem. Being diagnosed with a disfiguring disease at a young age devastated Lisa’s body image, and she grew up with continual self-deprecation. Trying to conceal every single inch of your skin for as much as 30 years does not promote a positive self-concept.
Although Lisa admits her situation might be extreme, she is willing to bet that most people are hiding something from the universe. Refusing to allow her appearance to dictate her self-value, Lisa willingly appeared in public without makeup. It was her first time in about 29 years, and it made one of the scariest albeit most liberating moments of her life.
When Lisa was pregnant, her scleroderma masked a symptom of preeclampsia. As a result, the condition went undiagnosed and untreated throughout her final trimester, causing a massive post-partum infection. Her condition consequently spiraled out of control, necessitating a 218-day hospital admission where she was mostly on the brink of death. Although scleroderma might not have been the primary cause, it contributed to the severe complications she suffered.
As a chronic systemic autoimmune disease, scleroderma is characterized by hardening of the skin. However, it can also affect internal organs, particularly in a more severe form. For the few cutaneous scleroderma individuals who escape lung complications, the prognosis is generally good. However, it is worse for those suffering from the diffuse cutaneous disease, particularly for males and those in old age. Heart, lung, and kidney complications are the most common causes of death. The five-year survival rate in diffuse cutaneous disease is 70% and 55% for 10-year.
Signs and symptoms
• Irregular heart rate and fainting as a result of conduction abnormalities
• Congestive heart failure
• Skin and mucosal telangiectasias
• Raynaud’s phenomenon, which includes red splotches on the skin and ulcers on the fingertips
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease
• Loss of appetite
• Dry and persistent coughing caused by interstitial lung disease
• Chest pains as a result of pulmonary artery hypertension
• Worsening shortness of breath
• Loss of joint motion
• Joint and muscle ache
• Muscle weakness
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Erectile dysfunction
• Kidney failure
• Hand paresthesias
• Loss of weight
• Facial pain as a result of trigeminal neuralgia
Genetic and environmental factors are the leading causes of scleroderma while mutations in HLA genes contribute to the pathogenesis of a few cases. Exposure to white spirits, silica, chlorinated and aromatic solvents, trichloroethylene, ketones, and welding fumes contribute to the condition, albeit in a small proportion.
Going through several near-death experiences taught Lisa that life often has far worse problems than splotchy skin. And although valuing inner beauty while conforming to society’s traditional ideas of attractiveness is tricky, Lisa appreciates life and herself more. You could be self-conscious about a specific facial feature such as your nose, mouth, or chin. Experiencing scleroderma might help to get you out of such insecurities. Unfortunately, not enough is known about scleroderma to determine whether or not preventing or delaying the onset of this disease is possible.