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Lupus and it’s mascot: butterfly or wolf?

Posted Apr 24 2012 11:00am

Butterfly: Lupus facial rashes resemble the shape of a butterfly on the cheeks

What is the mascot of systemic lupus erythematosus?  Lupus has long had a couple of unofficial mascots, the butterfly and the wolf.  The butterfly makes a good mascot, because of the butterfly shaped rash that often appears on the face of many lupus patients, and that is a hallmark sign of lupus. My lupus mascot is a butterfly!

However, many have suggested a wolf as the mascot for lupus, since that is where the term “lupus” actually comes from.  The lupus connection to the canine name stems from the shape of the circular rashes on the skin of lupus patients. Often, these are similar to the shape and appearance of a wolf bite, hence the term “lupus” has always been commonly used to describe this autoimmune illness.

Butterflies get my vote as mascot!  Why?  Because the butterfly is a beautiful thing, fragile at times, but none the less it soars in the sunlight, dances among the garden flowers, and represents spring and new life and vitality.  The butterfly emerges from the dark confines of a cocoon, transformed into a beautiful graceful being, like a lupus patient emerging from the confines and limits of a long difficult flare.

So many lupus patients are beautiful and strong, they live with many challenges and embrace their lupus adventure with zest and courage, living their lives with joy, despite lupus. So many lupus patients are not undone by their disease, and it is those people who our lupus mascot should celebrate and represent. You can meet some of these amazing men and women by visiting their blogs listed on my Great Lupus Blogs page.

Wolf: Lupus discoid rashes resemble a wolf's bite

A wolf, however, has somewhat a more sinister reputation.  Perhaps much deserved and properly well-representing the darker very real side of lupus.  However, I choose not to celebrate the dangers, miseries and pain of lupus, although they are important to realize and contend with.  I choose to focus on the beauty of each lupus patient, and being as “free as a butterfly” from lupus controlling my life.

Those of us with lupus can strive to rise above the negative parts of living with lupus, and refuse to let it dominate and destroy our quality of life.  We cannot make it go away, but we can come to terms with it, proactively manage it, and celebrate what we have versus what we may have lost to the disease.  I choose to focus on how well I can fly!

What would you vote for as the lupus mascot?  wolf, butterfly, or something else?


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