One Patient's Positive Perspectives

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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Comments on: "Lupus and it’s mascot: butterfly or wolf?" (18)

  1. I never knew about the wolf bite.
    Something new every day – even about lupus!

    • DS: Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation! Although published almost two years ago, this question continues to hold a great deal of interest to readers. Glad to share a little info with you, and I’m so glad you stopped in and shared your comment. LA

  2. […] 1. Lupus and it’s mascot: butterfly or wolf? – April 24, 2012 – 14,222 views this year (#1 all-time, even beating out my home page for total all-time reads!) […]

  3. Samantha jollivet said:

    I choose a wolves, because most of them are now rare. I see them as beautiful misunderstood creatures, and despite their dwindling numbers due to being killed. They defy the odds and keep fighting. So getting a tatoo of a wolf saying, warrior against the odds:)

    • Thank you so much for visiting Lupus Adventures and for sharing your insights and “vote.” The continued interest in this topic helps explain why it is one of the top 10 most read posts on this blog over all time. LA

  4. I’m with Brenda- I am all for being positive and I think the butterfly reflects this apart from it’s symbolic reference to the malar rash.

  5. I like the author’s description of the butterfly and how it relates to lupus. It makes sense to me. Yet, I feel the wolf better represents the seriousness of this illness and I want so much for it to be understood as a potentially devastating disease and therefore, worthy of increased attention and research so that we might finally have a cure.

    • Ginger: Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and voicing your view on the lupus mascot discussion. Yes, both sides are true, and we have a dreadful wolf we face, as well. Have a great day! LA

    • Sorry Ginger, I tried to rate you with 5 stars for your comment and don’t know what happened! I totally support what you say and feel that the wolf represents how this disease lurks in the background, striking with little warning and devastating results. However, my facial rash looks just like a large butterfly so both mascots have relevance.

  6. I’ve never had the mark on my face, yet have sle lupus. I have other problems though, lots of pain and stomach illness. Both the wolf and the butterfly represent beauty and freedom to me. If I lean toward one, it is the wolf. I see them as a symbol of strength and it certainly takes great strength of mind to live with lupus.

    • Thanks for your vote on the mascot issue… so far its pretty well split down the middle between the two. I’m so glad you offered your comment! LA

  7. I disagree that wolves carry strictly a negative meaning…. When I think of wolves, I think of creatures that have close family structures and a complicated social system. Animals that help each other protect and care for their young, their injured…their ill.
    While “the big bad wolf” is usually the first thing that most people think of when you say “wolf”, a little research will show you that wolves are so much more than that.
    Maybe it’s because I have always honored these animals, maybe it’s because I named my only son Wolf…but for me, and my lupus journey, I choose the Wolf as my personal mascot. For me, it is a symbol of survival, of strength, of cunning, of perseverance, of loyalty (remember where the domestic dog, canis lupus familiaris, came from: the wolf), of pairs that mate for life or somewhere close to it (which, with the divorce rate in chronically ill patients, is a nice symbol to have), and of a families (packs) that stick together and care for one another (which is what my family must do as we face off this disease together).
    To each their own I say, but for me, I proudly carry the totem of wolf with me as I continue to fight this disease.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reponse to my post on this issue. Your well expressed opinion really explains the other perspective. Thank you for joining the discussion! LA

    • I second Jess’s vote (for obvious reasons…). I don’t think of wolves as being sinister; I think of them as being beautiful, resilient, and as Jess noted, pack-oriented. Plus, they have more longevity than butterflies! But who doesn’t love butterflies? I say we have two mascots.

  8. I go with the butterfly. That is what it looks like on my face and I like you like what the butterfly represents vs the wolf.

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