I am Samiha, a 27 year old female from Dhaka, Bangladesh in Southeast Asia. I am working as a Patient Advocate & Region 10 (Dhaka/Lagos) Ambassador for Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types, Inc. (FIRST). I am a general practitioner and currently doing my training in dermatology.

I was born with a rare skin disease, Ichthyosis vulgaris. Dealing with this skin disease, every day, is difficult for me as my skin does not function like normal. Neither of my parents have skin like me, nor my grandparents and extended relatives.

Doctors could not diagnose my problem when I was born and treated it purely as dry skin. When I entered medical school, a doctor diagnosed me with Ichthyosis.

When I found out there was no cure, my heart broke, and I felt all alone. During that time, I was scared and had low self-esteem.  I experienced depression and frustration, worried about relationships and hid my condition from friends. But now, I am the one who loves to educate, inspire and connect those touched by Ichthyosis.

I recently got married. As there was no organization available  in my country, in 2009 I started an online advocacy for the Ichthyosis community. I met FIRST members and beautiful families. Now it feels good, knowing that I am not alone on this earth.

I hope that my transformation, my experiences and my success can teach, inspire and uplift all those who suffer from Ichthyosis and chronic illnesses.

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