If you’re a fan, I’m sure you already know about Michael’s struggle with Vitiligo (the genetic disorder that causes depigmentation of the skin, AKA why he ~”turned white”~). But I myself didn’t even realize the extent of the medical difficulties this guy had to put up with on a constant basis due in particular to Lupus.
All of this info is from rhythmofthetide:
According to the grand jury depositions in 1994 Michael was diagnosed with discoid lupus in 1986.
Vitiligo and lupus are both auto immune disorders; diseases where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells. When you have one auto immune disorder your propensity for having another is increased and it seems as though Michael first developed vitiligo as a child and then the first signs that he also had lupus were at the age of 18 when he suffered a pneumothorax related to pleurisy, followed by the appearance of the discoid lupus rash at the age of 23.
Some of the symptoms of Lupus:
- Red “Butterfly rash” on the cheeks and bridge of the nose
- Lesions appear on the face
- Extreme photosensitivity - Lupus and Vitiligo are both aggravated by sun exposure. This is why MJ was often seen carrying an umbrella and why he began wearing surgical face masks in public.
- Pleurisy: inflammation of the lining of the lungs. Causes chest pain worsened by deep breathing, movement of the chest or coughing. Keep in mind this is a man who sings and dances for a living.
Plastic surgery & scarring:
“Lupus is also an autoimmune disease and he also had skin involvement, which had destroyed part of the skin of his nose and his nasal surgeries and all were really reconstructive, to try and look normal….The first [plastic surgery] was to try and reconstruct from some scar tissue and obstruction that had happened with the skin there. It didn’t work out very well and all subsequent attempts were to make it right.”
-Dr. Richard Strick
“Lupus can cause large areas of skin on the face or tummy to actually die after plastic surgery and result in terrible scars.”
-Dr. Brooke Seckel
Treatments & effects on his appearance and mood:
- Hydroxychloroquine: a drug used to treat Lupus, can cause hypopigmentation (loss of pigment in the skin).
- Prednisone: another commonly prescribed drug, can cause swelling of the face, often referred to as “moon face” or “chipmunk cheeks”; some patients feel ugly and say that they do not recognize themselves in the mirror. Other side effects include mood change, insomnia, shakiness, increased risk of infections, and even weakness of the thigh muscles (again, we’re talking about a world-renowned dancer here) - bad enough that a patient may even have trouble standing up or climbing steps.
And that’s just a sampling of the shit this endlessly kind and generous person endured. So yeah, before you judge Michael Jackson based on his appearance, maybe take a second to think about the fact that it was a regular struggle for him to be able to even accept himself and feel a base level of comfort, let alone have to deal with the entire world judging and ridiculing him at every turn.