'I developed vitiligo after separating and leaving the house with only the clothes on my back'

‘I developed vitiligo after separating and leaving the house with only the clothes on my back’

Viviane Ferrer Almada Rodrigues developed vitiligo after separation (Photo: Personal Archive)

“In January 2016 I went through a very traumatic marital separation. The decision came from me and I was well resolved, but my ex-husband did not accept it at all. As I couldn’t get an amicable separation, I decided to leave the house practically with my clothes on. I took my two children, João Marcelo and Zenilo Neto, and went to start my life over, leaving everything behind.

We went to my mother’s house, who took us in for six months. In July, we moved into our new home. It was a much smaller space than the comfortable house we lived in before, but the desire to get out of that relationship made it all worth it. I confess that in many moments I was afraid of not being able to handle everything on my own. It was a year of many changes, of reaching rock bottom and getting back on my feet.

During this troubled period I noticed the appearance of white spots on my face. They started small, above my eyebrows, and grew until they reached the end of my hair. That made me very worried.

After consulting with a specialist dermatologist, I was diagnosed: I had developed vitiligo from emotional causes. I was devastated. I worked as an influencer, how could I live with vitiligo on my face, our business card? I’ve always been a very vain person, and despite living in Fortaleza, I avoided exposure to the sun, took care of my skin.

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By the end of the year the spots had spread all over my face, including eyelids and eyebrows, which had turned white due to the lack of pigmentation. I also had a scalp injury.

I went to many doctors and tried everything – imported ointment, light treatment, CO2… All to no avail. And it frustrated me more and more. I started to live in makeup all day to hide my stains. I feared that people would be prejudiced against me. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw the stains increasing… it made me cry. The disease, in addition to the face, has spread to my private parts.

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After two years of trying, I decided to accept vitiligo. I’ve always been a plus woman and very well resolved with it. I am an extremely cheerful, happy, upbeat person. I finally decided that it wouldn’t be a few spots that would discourage me. One day, I looked at myself in the mirror, stared at all my blemishes head-on, and said, ‘You know what? Vitiligo, I don’t even care’! And that became my life motto from then on.

We know that this is an autoimmune disease, a dermatological disease, which is not something that will take my life. In fact, it is much more of an aesthetic treatment than an aggressive type. So, I decided to live with my vitiligo, talk about it to other people, make them aware that vitiligo is not contagious — you can hug, kiss and have physical contact.

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Today I am married again. Tobias, my great love, embraced my children and my family as if they were his own. And when the vitiligo lesions were spreading more and more, he was already with me, he held me by the hand and said that with or without stains I will always be beautiful. This love gave me even more strength.

I always tell people that when you find out, you weaken, but then you get used to it and see that it’s more of a challenge in life to overcome. This acceptance phase is actually quite delicate. But pass.

The love I have for my life and the enchantment for living are much greater than any disease. Today, I say that vitiligo doesn’t bother me like it used to. I make a lot of posts on social media with a clean face, showing my spots and showing me how I am in real life. No disease will take away my shine, nor my will to live.”

Viviane Ferrer Almada Rodrigues (Photo: Personal Archive)

Viviane Ferrer Almada Rodrigues (Photo: Personal Archive)

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