19 March 2018

Debra's Story

My name is Debra Self and I have the Dunnigan variety of Familial Partial Lipodystrophy.  I wanted to touch on something today so that hopefully it can help other people.

When I was in my twenties, with this disease, as soon as I started teaching high school Biology, all the kids there made it their job to bully me, to make fun of me as much as they possibly could.

Thank God, my classmates growing up, my childhood, my teen-age years, they never saw anything wrong with me, they just knew it was me.  So I was never teased until I was an adult and I do thank God for that.

But even being teased as an adult was very difficult.  Not only did all of the students of that school make fun of me, I had several incidents to happen.  I had one lady who had been told that I’d had a sex change operation.  So she was going to go to the next business meeting of my church and have me thrown out of church.  I was able to keep that from happening.

When I was almost twenty-eight, I took an overdose of pills which, thank God, didn’t do what they were supposed to do.  But at the hospital where I’m puking my guts out, a doctor and police officer walked in.  The doctor says to me that they really want to help me but they can’t unless I tell them the truth.  I was like sure, I pretty much always told the truth and certainly to doctors.  So the doctor asked me to list all of the surgeries I’d had.  I rattled off two or three.  She asked if that were all and I told her yes.  She then gave me a great look of disgust and asked the police man if he wanted to ask me.  I think it was the doctor who ended up asking if I’d had a sex change operation.  She didn’t believe my answer and walked out in great disgust with the police man following her.  The social worker they sent in fairly soon after that asked me the same question.

It was difficult.  My twenties were a difficult decade as far as dealing with emotionally with this disease.  Since, I’ve learned how to deal with it emotionally, for the most part.  Dealing with all the symptoms that have come up, the pain, the frightening aspects of it has been hell.  Right now, I just wait around for a heart attack to happen.  I wait for death to take me on.  I wish I could hope for something better, but I know this disease doesn’t allow for hope.  Please, find a cure.  Please.

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