Sharon - Living with Lupus

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Butterflies and Wolves

Folks often ask me what the "lupus symbols" of butterflies and wolves symbolize. When you see a butterfly as it relates to lupus it refers to the lupus mask. I've been a victim of the mask. In October of last year, when I started to flare, meaning my lupus was coming out of remission, I got a spot below the right corner of my right eye. The spot wasn't very large, about the size of a dime. The spot was the color of the inside of your hand. Others didn't notice but I knew it was there because it was my face. Being that I am dark-skinned, I felt it was more noticeable because the spot was so light. Depending on what event I was attending, I would cover the spot with make-up. No worries until the spot began to grow and spread.

During Thanksgiving, my mother came to visit me during in Florida. Out of my peripheral vision, I caught her looking at me. She wasn't eyeing me because her baby girl had done anything special but because she was trying to figure out what was going on with her face. Needless to say that holiday was a very solemn one, haha! I remember one time I was driving and felt her eyes on me. Without facing her, I just said "I'm going to be okay mom". In my spirit, I knew that I was going to eventually be okay eventually but in my mind, I knew that lupus was about to take me on an unforgettable ride.

The butterfly rash grew and grew...and grew. My cheeks and nose were the color of the inside of my hand hence forming the butterfly rash. My cheeks were the butterfly's "wings" and my little nose was the butterfly's "body". Creative, eh? Now the butterfly rash is also sometimes referred to as a malar rash. Pop singer Seal has the malar rash on his face. At one time it was reported the rash was a tribal marking. Lupus rashes and tribal markings are two different things and I am glad that discrepancy has been resolved.

Lupus is sometimes depicted with the picture of a wolf. In Latin, "lupus" is translated as wolf. It has been said that the butterfly rash markings on a lupus patient's face closely resemble markings on a wolf's face. I've also read that "wolf" is used because it "devours" the affected part. That I can attest to but I also know there is a stronger force that is working on my behalf as I continue to deal with the remnants of my lupus mask. It has cleared up tremendously but there are still spots here and there.

Always a believer in documenting my growth and evolution, as the spots spread on my face so did my fascination with taking pictures of the affected areas. One of my friends wrinkled her nose and asked me why I would do such a thing such as take pictures of my diseased face. "To help somebody, dear. To help somebody. I'm far from ashamed."

Little did I know that my hasty camera phone pictures would become a masterpiece when they reached Cherish's heart and hands. My girl is the best. I may have started the Lupus education class but she continues it. It's been a month since it's been posted but still a month later, I still watch it and cry...tears of joy of from where He and your love has brought me Until...

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