Necrobiosis Lipoidica



Heeeeey Everyone.

This is a topic that I haven’t spoken about much but, I recently discussed it on Instagram and I had an amazing response from people sharing the condition I couldn’t believe it, so many people that thought they were the only one, just like myself. So, I wanted to share my full experience to help spread awareness further.

What is Necrobiosis Lipoidica?

Necrobiosis Lipoidica (NL) is a rare skin condition where reddish marks can appear on the skin, usually occurring on the lower part of the legs although other areas can be affected. It appears that the exact cause is not known but it apparently has links with…you guessed it diabetes. The exact numbers are also not known however, most cases of NL occur in people with diabetes or people who have abnormal glucose tolerances. Treatment for NL is stated to be challenging, and unlikely to heal the marks completely.1

My Journey with Necrobiosis Lipoidica

For me, this started around 4 or 5 years ago now. It started with one little red mark, I thought that maybe I’d caused it at work or the gym because I’m clumsy and I bruise like a peach so it was nothing out of the ordinary for me. I never really thought anything about it until weeks later when this one was still going strong and getting bigger and then another decided to come along and join. 2 lovely red marks, one on my right shin and one on my left shin - they were red, shiny, and sometimes sore to touch but I was still convinced that they were just some sort of weird bruises (because I’m stubborn). 

I think it was my Mum that convinced me to go to the doctors, as Mums do. So, I booked an appointment and went to the doctors and they just said these words…Necrobiosis Lipoidica. All I could think inside my head was ‘what did he just say to me’. After the appointment I went home knowing that it was a skin condition, possibly linked to diabetes, with a tube of steroid cream to clear the red marks up and an appointment with the dermatologist so they could take a second look…. just in case.

Whilst I was waiting for that appointment, I actually gained two more marks, bringing the grand total to four!! These two were and still are smaller than the original two. It was when I saw the dermatologist that I found out that these marks were really unlikely to ever go. This was so difficult to hear because I was under the impression that a bit of cream would clear it up no problem, that these marks would be no more. But no. It was difficult at first, I felt more frustrated than anything, like was the diabetes not enough. I was at a point in my life where my diabetes was not a priority and I didn’t particularly like talking about it, so the thought of having to explain to people that they were linked to my diabetes did not thrill me *moody teenager eye roll*.

It didn’t take me long to get over it, after my initial freak out. I just remember being so annoyed that I just thought:

  • Why should I have to hide my legs away?
  • So what if people ask questions?
  • Do these marks really define me?

Over time it just got easier and easier, I began to love my legs even with the red marks, I didn’t mind when people would ask questions because I got the opportunity to educate. I look at them now and just think of everything I have gone through with my diabetes and realise how seriously amazing I am, how strong I am because I’m not afraid to admit that diabetes is not easy.

If you also have NL or are experiencing any other type of diabetes complication then please just remember how AMAZING you are. You rock. You are killing it. T1D is not easy and you are not alone. 

See you next time.
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