FASHION

Born with My Own Constellation: Birthmark Awareness

Rare Disease & Syndrome

Alana Dolce

My Arm

I have a Venous Vascular Malformation, which is a malformation of veins in my arm also called Klippel Trenaunay. After having nineteen sclerotherapy treatments and five MRIs, I realized that having a strong background in medicine encompasses my love of helping others. My Venous Vascular Malformation affects me as a person since it makes me unique and has a great impact on my personality. No birthmark will ever look identical just like no two people will ever be the same as each other. People usually see my arm and freak out just because it's not "normal" like everyone else's. No one should be judged by the way they look, however most children and adults still do. My arm is blue, purple and green in some spots, is visually bigger than my other arm and I also have four keloids that are burned from radiation. I fought through hard times and ignorant comments that shaped me into the person I am now. I have a lot of confidence and I am not scared to talk in front of others.

Impact on Childhood

Often, my arm hurts because of usage, movement, or hormones, since the blood does not flow correctly in my arm. Therefore, I could not play sports because of my Venous Vascular Malformation because my arm is swollen and hurts a lot. For this reason, I decided to do dance, which was not any easier. After my procedures, I had to take two weeks off of dance which caused the teachers to think I was falling behind. The teachers did not understand that I physically could not dance, and they still dropped me down a level. Additionally, one of my dance teachers told me that I was too fat to be in the dance class. She told me that I had to lose weight in order to be with my friends. This situation will never be forgotten because I was only 12 years old. I was often insecure about how I looked after that moment. I never realized that I was "bigger" than my friends. No one knew how much this affected my life.

Spreading Birthmark Awareness

Recently, I have began accepting myself for who I am. I am different and unique. Also, I hope to spread awareness about different types of birthmarks and how it affects my life. On my instagram account, I write about stories or situations that have occured with my Venous Vascular Malformation. Everyone in today's society tries to be perfect because models and other social media influencers are "perfect", but I am glad to be different. In the future, I hope people become more accepting of all body types and disabilities.

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