WARNING: THIS ARTICLE INCLUDES GRAPHIC IMAGES SOME READERS MAY FIND DISTURBING
Bullying can traumatize a person for life. One woman, who was bullied during her childhood for having thousands of tumors all over her body, shares about what she went through, including treatment that has led to a “huge difference” in her appearance.
Since Libby Huffer, now 45, was a teenager, she has been battling with neurofibromatosis, a genetic neurological disorder that causes non-cancerous bumps to form on places where nerves are present. Huffer, a mother of a 23-year-old daughter, once had almost 6,000 tumors on her body, and the condition had caused chronic pain, which means a hug would hurt her.
Having thousands of humps on her body had made her childhood miserable.
“I have been bullied and victimized my whole life because of the bumps all over my skin, they cover me from head to toe,” she told Caters News. “In school kids would pick on me all the time, they called me lizard breath and toad. I had to change my name from Elizabeth to Libby, because whenever I heard my name it reminded me of being called lizard breath.”
“I am a human being too, all I want is to be adored and cared for like anyone else,” she said. “Instead of making comments, I wish people would talk to me rather than stare like I’m a circus freak, it just makes me feel really uncomfortable.”
She explained that she doesn’t have a contagious disease.
“But I’m not contagious I have a neurological genetic disorder that cause tumors to form on the both inside and outside of the body wherever there are nerves present,” she said.
After Huffer, a photographer living in Fort Wayne in Indiana, shared her plight, she was offered treatment on “The Doctors TV Show” to reduce the appearance of the bumps.
She underwent her second surgery in June 2017 to kill off 1,000 bumps on her face and the tissues that cause the growths. She then had a CO2 laser surgery to reduce scarring.
After the surgery, she noticed a “huge difference” in her appearance and her daughter was also stunned by the difference.
“I am very happy with the results and hope to have the rest of them removed some day,” she said. “I have had about 1,000 of the fibromas removed so far. My friends and family say that I look great and they notice a huge difference. My life hasn’t been any different since surgery other than I have raised lots of awareness for NF, which has always been my biggest goal.”
To raise awareness and provide support to those suffering from the condition, Huffer has created a Facebook page, “Faces of Neurofibromatosis,” and now has 5,000 members from all over the world.