To The Woman Who Told Me I Was “a Self-loathing Freak of Nature Attempting to Make a Buck”


Dawn's Blog Comment

On September 6th, I received a comment from a woman named Dawn via my blog. Dawn’s remarks were in reference to the page that features my memoir; Does This Hospital Gown Come With Sequins?

Here’s what Dawn shared with me:

You seem to love being a self-loathing freak of nature. Everyone has issues of one
sort or another and most find it best to keep it to themselves instead of laying it on others. You state that you have a husband and children. How do you think your children will feel if a classmate or someone else hones in on the disfigurement you seem to take pride in?  Not everyone in this world is socially correct or polite. The lessons you claim you learned are not new and are common to many of us with varied circumstances. I believe you are just another self-proclaimed author attempting to make a buck who is totally self-centered. I don’t want to hurt your feelings but you invited comments, and that is my honest opinion

I didn’t post Dawn’s comment publicly or respond to her privately because:

  1. My mom taught me If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. When I read Dawn’s words, the only reply I could think of was a two-word phrase. I won’t write out the phrase, but here’s a hint: The first word starts with the letter ‘f’’ and the last word ends with the letter ‘u’.

  2. I needed time to digest her comment, distance myself from it, and determine if it was productive to respond to a “hater.”

People say it’s best to ignore comments like Dawn’s, to take the high road, and not dignify senseless critics by responding. I typically agree. Often, I try to be mature and transform negativity into something constructive. Against the advice of those who love me, I feel compelled to respond to Dawn. This is probably because I am completely self-centered. So, to all the Dawns in the world, I say- screw the high road.

Dear Dawn,

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. I am responding to your feedback by dissecting your words line by line. Let’s start with your opener, shall we?

“You seem to love being a self-loathing freak of nature.”

You’ve hit the nail on the head Dawn! I do love being a freak of nature. The self-loathing part is just an added bonus. The whole idea of raising awareness for scleroderma,  learning to embrace my face, promoting self-acceptance, and championing for inner-beauty is all a farce. Those 28 years I spent tediously concealing my bare face was all part of my master plan to garner world-wide attention.

Moving on to your next pearl of wisdom….

“Everyone has issues of one sort or another and most find it best to keep it to themselves instead of laying it on others. You state that you have a husband and children. How do you think your children will feel if a classmate or someone else hones in on the disfigurement you seem to take pride in?”

My children’s classmates hone in on my disfigurement without any help from me. They notice all by themselves with their own eyes. My son and daughter have been asked, “What’s wrong with your mom?” since they and their peers could talk. Silly me, I thought that providing my perspective on how to approach those with differences might help others navigate that sensitive situation. My children are at the forefront of every decision I make. Two weeks ago, I got a call from a television producer in London. She wanted to feature me on her show that is televised internationally on a major world-wide network. I declined her offer because I did not want to cause my children potential embarrassment, sensationalize my disease, or my personal medical story.

Here’s one of my favorite lines:

“Not everyone in this world is socially correct or polite.”

Really? Are you sure? Thanks for letting me know people like that exist. I had absolutely no idea.

“The lessons you claim you learned are not new and are common to many of us withvaried circumstances. I believe you are just another self-proclaimed author attempting to make a buck who is totally self-centered.”

I’ve gotta hand it to you Dawn, you have once again seen through my shenanigans. This whole living-with-scleroderma -for-31-years-thing has all been a giant charade. Oh, and the 218 days I spent in the hospital after my daughter was born, that too was part of my elaborate sham. My family was happy to play along. When the doctors told my loved ones that my chances of surviving the next 48 hours after an emergency colectomy were slim, they didn’t cry over the fact that I would be leaving behind a newborn and toddler. No, they were ecstatic thinking about what a compelling book I could write about the experience (if I didn’t kick the proverbial bucket). What about the two tracheotomies, eight major surgeries, ICU Psychosis, temporary paralysis, aspirations, bleeding out on the operating room table, and nearly dying multiple times? You guessed it– all just fuel to make my memoir extra spicy. The years I spent in physical, occupational, respiratory, and speech therapies were simply a scheme to add fodder for my book and blog.

As for me just trying to make a buck? Guilty as charged. I spent eight years writing my manuscript because everyone knows it’s super easy to make millions from authoring a medical memoir. That’s especially true if you’re a complete unknown with a rare disease no one has ever heard of before. Yep, I spend my days just rolling around in all the money I’ve made. Never mind that I started working part-time and cut my salary in half to finish my book and start my blog, or that I am donating a portion of all book sales to support scleroderma research.  Based on your logic, everyone should work for free, or be accused of trying to make a buck. Should I tell my doctors they are self-centered for spending eight years of their lives in training just so they could make a buck?

I have saved the best for last…

“I don’t want to hurt your feelings but you invited comments, and that is my honest opinion”

Dawn-What do you say when you do want to hurt someone’s feelings?


  • To my regular readers, you may be thinking, Yowzers! This blog is a major departure from Lisa’s typical tone and outlook. Who stole Lisa and replaced her with this bitter, sarcastic, cynic? Sorry, I have a mean streak that rears its ugly head every now and then.


  • Cover on amazonSince I’m all about being a “self-proclaimed writer trying to make a buck,” I will thank all of you who have already read my book and reviewed it on Amazon. Contrary to what this post may imply, I love reading everyone’s feedback and genuinely enjoy constructive criticism.






  1. Lisa

    You are awesome – completely awesome. Since we talked after my son’s video I have been following you on Facebook and you are completely inspiring – and the reason you are inspiring is that you are completely genuine in your purpose. This woman is an idiot – there are many of them in the world. Good for you for the way you handled it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lisa, I can’t quite remember how I came across your blog, and I don’ have any connection to scleroderma, but I subscribed because I love your humor and you are inspiring. You make me laugh, cry and THINK. I can’t imagine what would motivate someone to be so senseless in comment. The Internet is filled with trolls of all ilk. Sometimes they have to be addressed. You handled it with style. Carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very, very well said, Lisa!! Your response had me laughing so hard!! I keep picturing you just rolling around in your piles of money all day 😉. All you’ve ever done is try to help people by sharing your story and insights gained from a very difficult experience, and I for one am so grateful to you for being brave enough to do it. You’ve helped me a great deal.


  4. OMG…this is amazing! Well said, Lisa. Like we tell our students, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Many adults never learned that lesson. Good for you for sticking up for yourself. You are a rock star!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this post feeling like a high school cheerleader and a laughing middle schooler. I was saying “Go Lisa, Go Lisa, Go Lisa!” while I was laughing! Oh, to feel young again! Thanks Lisa!


  6. I especially love the ending: “Dawn, what do you say when you DO want to hurt someone’s feelings?” You are a class act- and a funny one at that! Keep doing what you do- because for every 1 Dawn there are 99 people who get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lisa, I am NOT the patient but I live with Scleroderma every day and, unfortunately, I guess if someone hasn’t lived it they cannot comprehend what the patient lives with daily. My husband’s worse year in 2009 was 38 days in the hospital. I have lived with all of his brushes with death & worry that one day he won’t survive the terrible attacks to his body. I do not agree with anything your critic said but feel she may not have had or understand the struggles of Scleroderma. Please keep writing & keep in the news:)


  8. Dearest Lisa, I want to THANK YOU for expressing & demonstrating how to live your truth. Your writing is such a gift to all living with scleroderma, at least from my wonderful perspective. We live in a great society that affords us many privledges, some share those with others to become more helpful & United, like on Capitol Hill 🗽 for awareness & research dollar$ for scleroderma and on your blog! 😉
    Then there are those who unfortunately are so blinded by negativity & darkness they cannot see light from others. Fortunately for us we do flock together & shine brightly.
    Shine on sistah‼️🎯🇺🇸Catherine


  9. I know I did this already, but I don’t see it. I just want to tell you that you hit the nail smack on the head with your answer. This woman obviously has a problem and she is taking it out on you. I want to come and roll in all your money with you, but you will have to help me get up. Getting down is easy, getting up is difficult. Love ya kid1


  10. Gotta love those internet trolls, right?! Hang in there.

    I cannot even fathom what you are facing and I appreciate having your blog here because you give me a chance to see out of another person’s eyes. Thank you and keep up the good fight!


  11. I can think of a word to describe Dawn. I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a capitol “B” and ends with an “h”.

    Thank you for your insightful, funny and inspiring blog.


  12. Hi – I just came across your Twitter and landed here after I saw the tweet regarding Dawn. I’m sorry people are so ignorant. That’s really all I can say. I hope it was therapeutic to write what you did here. You handled it very well! Very fun to read. Tasteful and very point driven!
    I am an ICU nurse and I have seen what this disease can do. Keep on living! I applaud your courage. I will say a prayer for you today! Don’t let these people bother you for one second.


  13. I have a friend who has a relative with this illness. I know that she is in a lot of pain but I didn’t know what it was or anything about it. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Now I have an understanding of it. Like finding a cure for my MS I hope they find a cure for scleroderma & other diseases also. Love your reply to DAWN. She obviously doesn’t have or know anyone who has a life changing illness. Take care.


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