Loving, and Being Loved, Unconditionally

by Angela Lowry-Sellers
ARCI-lamellar ichthyosis

I was blessed to be born to two great parents as the baby of four girls. My parents always made sure I was treated in the same way as my siblings, who are unaffected. My family made sure that my ichthyosis didn’t define me, but that I defined it, by remaining socially active in church and school throughout my childhood years where I formed authentic loving friendships. My parents emphasized strength in my character and respect for those around me, and made sure I excelled.

Being a parent with ichthyosis was scary in the beginning. When I had my first child in 1988, I was very concerned as to whether he would have ichthyosis. I often contemplated what it would be like to have someone, a baby of my own, that looked like me. But I also knew that living with ichthyosis can be an extremely difficult life to live. When my son was born, he was perfect – not because he didn’t have ichthyosis, but just because he was mine. Five years later, I gave birth to twins — healthy and perfect!

As a parent, I often worried about them going to school and having to explain their mother’s condition to their peers or teachers. What if someone asked them uncomfortable questions? What if they got teased or bullied? I didn’t let it deter me, however, because it was important to me to remain active with their school. I made sure I was at every game, performance, or activity that they were involved in. I had very few incidents where I had to explain my skin condition. My children were very happy and active, and they never once told me that they were being teased about how their mother looked. Although they learned the importance of having good manners in church, school and home, I also believe my children learned innately how to be more compassionate to strangers or those who are different from us. 

I feel very blessed to be raised in an environment where I was accepted. My son and my twins, now adults, are so proud of me and have never felt ashamed that I was their mother. Not to mention my precious five grandchildren whose favorite term of endearment is “Mawmaw” — they are my prize possessions! The blessings of great parents and siblings, a loving husband, awesome children, and adorable grandchildren overshadow the unkindness of a world that I have to face daily living with ichthyosis. Their unconditional love is what keeps me afloat and brings such great joy to my life.  

Angela provided an additional story for Black History Month 2024.  You can read it here.

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Neither FIRST, its Board of Directors, Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Medical Editors, nor Foundation staff and officals endorse any treatments listed here.  All issues pertaining to the care of patients with ichthyosis should be discussed with a dermatologist experienced in the treatment of their skin disorder.

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