A MUM has revealed how cruel trolls told her they would kill themselves if they had her condition.
Mercedes Christensen, 52, from Boise, Idaho, has neurofibromatosis type one, a genetic illness that causes benign tumours to grow along a person’s nerves.
Kennedy NewsMercedes Christensen, 52, from Boise, Idaho, said cruel trolls told her they would kill themselves if they had her condition, neurofibromatosis type one[/caption]
Kennedy NewsShe says her visible symptoms have led to bullies coming up to her in front of her children and insulting her[/caption]
She first started getting the lumps on her face after the birth of her last child when she was 29 and now says she is covered in them.
Initially, it forced her to become a recluse out of fear of bullying, but now she is refusing to hide away.
She said: “I used to have gorgeous skin other than zits. The tumours started popping out rapidly after giving birth, which is normal because any hormonal change can cause tumours.
“I hid like most people with it do. I used to cover my face with my hair, look down and I wouldn’t go out unless it was to work.
“After my kids were diagnosed, I realised I couldn’t hide because my daughters will learn that what they have is shameful.
“I changed my outlook, I didn’t want them to be self-conscious about what they looked like. I felt horrible that I’d passed it onto them. I was never told that there was a chance I would pass it on.
“They don’t have it as severe as me and they may not get it as severe as I do. I hope to God that they don’t.”
Around 25,000 Brits live with neurofibromatosis type one, a condition you are born with but symptoms develop slowly over time.
The condition is usually inherited from a parent, but can also develop spontaneously, as happened with Mercedes.
Its severity varies from person to person and carriers can have birthmarks or soft, non-cancerous tumours under the skin.
Clusters of freckles in unusual places like the armpits, groin and under the breast and problems with the bones, eyes and nerves can also occur.
Mercedes said her visible symptoms have led to bullies coming up to her in front of her children and insulting her.
She said: “About a dozen people have asked me why I’ve had kids. It hurts. It makes me pissed, it’s none of their business.
“I tend not to react but you can only take so much before you call someone out so nobody else does it.
What are the symptoms of neurofibromatosis type one?
In most cases, the skin is affected, causing symptoms such as:
birthmarks known as café au lait spots, which are light or dark brown patches that can be anywhere on the body
soft, non-cancerous tumours on or under the skin (neurofibromas)
clusters of freckles in unusual places – such as the armpits, groin and under the breast
problems with the bones, eyes and nervous system
Source: The NHS
“I was at the grocery store with Emma and a woman came up to me and said ‘if I looked like you, I’d kill myself’.
“I had to hold Emma back and I said ‘well it’s a good thing you don’t’. I’m not going to meet negativity with negativity.”
She has been married to her husband Rodney, 58, for 14 years and says he makes her feel beautiful “even with the tumours”.
Mercedes, who is unemployed due to her condition, was the first person in her family to be diagnosed with the condition.
Louise was diagnosed when she was six while Emma was at age three.
She said: “I got my first tumour at age six from a chicken pox scar, I didn’t have any other warning signs.
“When I was 19, I had four or five bumps so I had one removed by a dermatologist to find out what it was. They said it was nothing serious.
“Each person with NF will get tumours at different rates and ages or not even get any visible tumours. They can grow internally on the organs.
“It’s progressive, they don’t go away on their own. They need to be completely severed from the nerve ending and the nerve ending needs to be killed with electricity.”
Kennedy Newsand MediaMercedes said she used to have ‘gorgeous skin’ before the tumours started appearing on her face when she was 29[/caption]
Kennedy NewsShe has been married to her husband Rodney (pictured together), 58, for 14 years and says he makes her feel beautiful “even with the tumours”[/caption]