LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

Woman Had Been Living With Painful Tumors On Her Body And Face For Years, And Finally, Got A Well-Deserved, Stunning Makeover On 'The Doctors'

Date October 25, 2018

What is it like to live with a genetic condition that alters your appearance and endure ignorant comments for years? It’s something that Libby Huffer from Fort Wayne, Indiana, knows too well. The woman was born with a condition that causes numerous tumors to appear on the skin. She decided to share her story on The Doctors to educate others about her rare disorder.

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Libby’s story

Libby Huffer was born with a rare genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on the skin. She had been bullied since elementary school, with some kids calling her a ‘toad’ and ‘lizard breath’. The emotional pain caused by bullying was so unbearable that the woman changed her name from Elizabeth to Libby at the age of 19, as her original name reminded her of constant name-calling.

One of the happiest moments in Libby’s life came when she became pregnant with her daughter Lindsey. Unfortunately, the changing hormone levels made her condition worse and caused hundreds of additional growths to appear on her skin.

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Sick and tired of nasty comments and dirty looks, Libby finally sought help. When she appeared on The Doctors, one of the most popular medical shows in the U.S., she opened up about her condition, neurofibromatosis 1.

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Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is an inherited disorder that affects about 1 in 3,000 to 4,000 people in the U.S., according to the NINDS. Benign tumors on the skin are one of many symptoms NF1 causes.

Other signs and symptoms include the following, according to Mayo Clinic:

  1. Flat, light brown spots on the skin ('cafe au lait' spots).
  2. Freckling in skin creases.
  3. Tiny bumps in the iris, known as Lisch nodules.
  4. Bone deformities.
  5. Tumors on the optic nerve.
  6. Learning difficulties.
  7. Large head size at birth.
  8. Short stature.

Not everyone affected by NF1 has all of these signs and symptoms.

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Speaking about her own symptoms, Libby said tumors on her skin hurt when there was something pressing on them, and that made some regular daily activities difficult.

Libby was in for a nice surprise. She was offered a free electrodesiccation surgery to remove the tumors, and a CO2 laser surgery to reduce the scarring.

Libby happily agreed. She received treatment and was practically unrecognizable during her next appearance on the show!

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The woman had hundreds of tumors removed from her face. Her daughter cried tears of joy when she saw the result.

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Libby feels much more self-confident now, and there’s another aspect of her story she's happy about. By making her struggle public, she gave voice to thousands of other people living with neurofibromatosis 1. Good job, Libby!

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