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A Piece of My Mind
March 12, 2008

The Only Thing That Matters

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2008;299(10):1113. doi:10.1001/jama.299.10.1113

I met the most extraordinary person the other day. She came in by ambulance to the emergency department where I practice. Her right side had suddenly become weaker than usual, and she was worried she might be having another stroke. She was only 34 years old, but she had a particularly nasty case of lupus, and her body bore the stigmata of her decade-long fight to maintain her health. Most visibly, the disease had marked her face with clusters of angry-looking red bumps and had marred her dark coloring with splotches of pigment loss—the scars of her previous battles. She certainly wasn't beautiful in any conventional sense, and I found myself wondering what she must think when she looked in the mirror in the morning. Had becoming so disfigured through no fault of her own made her bitter?