WARNING: THIS ARTICLE INCLUDES GRAPHIC IMAGES SOME READERS MAY FIND DISTURBING
Bullying can traumatize a person for life. One woman, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, 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 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 grown-up daughter, once had almost 6,000 tumors on her body.
The condition had caused chronic pain, which means even a hug or water from the shower would hurt her. “The tumors all over my back cause chronic pain, the nerves in my feet have a tingling sensation all the time which make it hard to sleep,” she told Caters News in 2018.
"Hi! I'm Libby & I have Neurofibromatosis (NF) and I am looking for others with NF to join my NF family page. If you…
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,” Huffer said.
“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,” she continued.
“I am a human being too, all I want is to be adored and cared for like anyone else,” she added. “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.”
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Huffer 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, shared her plight, she was offered treatment on “The Doctors TV Show” to reduce the appearance of the bumps. She underwent her second electrodessication surgery in June 2017 to kill off 1,000 bumps on her face and the tissues that cause the growths.
Group photo with 'The Doctors' and Jonathan and Lauren from the Jonathan Antin salon in Beverly Hills, CA
Huffer then had a CO2 laser surgery to reduce scarring. After the procedures, 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 created a Facebook page called “Faces of Neurofibromatosis” in December 2016, and now it has nearly 1,700 followers from all over the world.
Watch the video to see her daughter’s reaction: