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?


Comments on: "Lupus and it’s mascot: butterfly or wolf?" (28)

  1. Vanessa said:

    I am devastated to have been diagnosed with SLE in 2014 i am so scared that it will attack my healthy tissue and i will just die very fast. Without having found my true love and dying alone also.. Both wolf and butterfly should be symbols. I am beautiful inside and out and have to be strong its so hard to live like this each day. I put on my smile and people have no idea about my struggle i still have things i want to experience in life but now i think what’s the point if I’m so sad all the time? When i tell people I’m so sick they go sad and say they’re so sorry so i stop telling people my own family don’t even know not that they care anyway.I’m making my will soon.I’m in love with a guy but he’s not interested in me only wants to be friends but ignores me alot as if i need this heartache too. I’m impatient and i need answers he doesn’t know I’m sick i dont want a pity party either.Life is so short i hear this loud and clear now. Thanks for reading.

    • Vanessa said:

      My name Vanessa, means butterfly in Greek.

      • Hi Vanessa i know it’s hard but you need to concentrate on what makes you happy and this guy is just not worth you wasting any more of your precious time on. If you keep wasting your time on him you will miss out on a guy who is the perfect fit for you. Don’t even be friendly with him anymore, he sounds like a loser if he ignores you. You deserve better for yourself. Don’t worry you will find a man who is everything you ever wanted in your true love very soon. I wish you all the love in the world.

  2. Adria Marie Brungard said:

    I would vote for either. Butterfly due to its beauty, and similar to rash that can appear. But the wolf is not always bad. It’s a survivor, a fighter! The wolf has it’s own beauty with resilience to life. Everyday he or she goes out to feed their families and support each other in a pack. Just like “lupies”.

  3. Veelobos said:

    I vote for the wolf. So many people think of wolves as a bad thing but in Native American traditions, wolves are beautiful and somewhat majestic. They are seen as strong, powerful, protectors, fighters, family oriented, shy, and magical. Wolves are respected by many Natives. Lupus causes us to be these things when we fight through our flares and come out of each episode. I am also somewhat biased since i am part Native American and my maiden last name is Villalobos (Villa=village; lobos=wolves).

  4. The way I see it and feel the pain of lupus, is more of a wolf. Because we have our ups and down, we have to be strong and brave, like the wolf. Also sometimes hide and be caugeous with some people, just like the wolf. But at the same time be like the butterfly. Beautiful and delicate. So I think we are both , but more of a wolf ,mysterious and brave. Sweet and delicate like the butterfly.

  5. I love them both. But, I am bias. I have loved butterflies sense I was a few months old and wolves have always been my favorite K-9. The butterfly has many things that are like us and describe us. But, so does the wolf. The wolf shows how strong we are and we will not back down from the fight. I could go very deep into this, but no one read all of it. Anyway, I think they both should be the symbol.

    • Thanks for stopping by Lupus Adventures and adding your vote to the discussion. Your thoughts are echoed by so many of us, there is certainly a place for both symbols in this conversation about Lupus. LA

  6. Nathalie Nijkamp said:

    Definitely a wolfe. Made a film about it too. Looking to confront the wolf inside and in real life.
    Link: Life changes with a chronicle disease!

    This documentary gives a wonderfully illogic insight into the life of a young woman who is suddenly faced with a dramatic change in her life. It’s by her imagination that she’s able to cope with the threatening and incurable disease Lupus.

    In this film she pulls us into her inner world. She explains what happens to her, continuously interrupted by a completely dismantled and disarming commentary on her own thoughts.
    She transcends the one-dimensional patients film and is a layered documentary in which she learns to accept the wolf in her.

    • Thank you so much for sharing you comments and telling about your film. the trailer was great, so I want to find out more about the film, this looks like it is outstanding. I will be chasing this down to get access to watch the film and report on it here in the next few weeks. I am finishing up my college degree and graduating on December 10! Back to more writing and blogging soon.

  7. 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

  8. […] 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!) […]

  9. 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

  10. onoodlesstitchcraft said:

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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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