45-year-old mother Libby Huffer has revealed the moving account of her recovery from surgery to treat the affects of Neurofibromatosis, a genetic neurological condition that causes non-cancerous lumps to develop on the skin anywhere there are nerves. Libby had to endure years of bullying, but she is now seeing a noticeable improvement in the appearance of her skin thanks to specialist therapy.
As a teenager, Libby experienced hundreds of pimples as a result of having Neurofibromatosis 1, a disorder that affects one in 2,500 people. Her daughter Lindsey’s pregnancy 23 years ago made matters worse and sent the tumour count skyrocketing to around 6,000.
During her life, Libby was subjected to vicious remarks and nicknames like “lizard breath” and “toad” from callous bullies. Living with Neurofibromatosis had a toll on the body and the mind, resulting in persistent pain that interfered with basic actions like giving embraces. Libby’s troubles were made worse by the nasty remarks, pointing, and staring of strangers.
When the daytime TV programme The Doctors gave her specialised treatment to lessen the look of the tumours, her life took a turn for the better. She had her second electrodessication procedure in June of last year to get rid of 1,000 pimples on her face. After that, she underwent C02 laser surgery to smooth out her skin and reduce scarring.
Libby has observed a dramatic change in her appearance and hopes her story will develop awareness and compassion for individuals facing Neurofibromatosis. “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,” she said, expressing happiness with the outcome.
Even with the advancements, Libby recognises that healing the psychological wounds from years of abuse will take time. She is nevertheless hopeful that each procedure will increase her self-esteem and help her forget traumatic experiences.
Libby’s devotion to promoting awareness extends to her Facebook page, “Faces of Neurofibromatosis,” launched in 2016. With 5,000 members worldwide, the page that started with only two people has evolved to support and raise awareness for those who are impacted by the illness.
In conjunction with the organisation Neurofibromatosis Midwest, Libby is actively fundraising to educate communities, promote medical research, and have a positive influence on the lives of persons with Neurofibromatosis. Her narrative serves as an example of perseverance and the ability to transform oneself in the face of difficulty.