By Alex Matthews
A mum-of-two has been left with a face ‘strange bubble wrap’ – after the birth of her second child trigger the growth of thousands of tumours.
Charmaine Sahadeo, 38, suffers from an extreme case of neurofibromatosis, causing painful lumps and growths to appear all over her body.
She claims to have ‘thousands’ of bumps on total covering her entire face, with three giant growths swamping her right leg.
Charmaine, from Chaguanas, Trinidad, has always had the condition but says the growths were largely unnoticeable until her second son Osiris, 15, was born.
After the birth the number of tumours increased rapidly, and two surgeries have been unable to stop their growth.
The devoted mother has been left too scared to attend her sons’ school for any reason for fear they will be bullied.
She is also self-conscious about going outside as children sometimes run away from her.
Charmaine, who is desperate to seek relief from the condition, is now turning abroad to the UK, US and Australia to try and find anyone who can help her.
She said: “I have had the condition since birth, but it started getting a lot worse about 15 years ago.
“It was very small and did not show up much until after the birth of my second child. Then after he was born it got a lot worse.
“It’s very painful, especially my leg. Right now when I squeeze the bump something like a large blackhead comes out.
“Sometimes if you do that they can become infected. Once my entire finger swelled up and it was very painful. I have to be very careful.
“I have one of the most serious cases of neurofibromatosis in the world.
“Here in Trinidad there is no help for me at all. I have had two surgeries to try and clear some of the lumps but they have swollen up again.
“I have three huge lumps on my leg and a big one on my side.
“In all I think I have thousands of lumps. On my face and head alone there are probably three thousand or more. It looks like my skin is a strange bubble wrap.
“It is the ones by my eyes that concern me the most. The doctors say they could remove them to stop them blocking any vision but I am too afraid of the risk to my eyesight. I really worry something could go wrong.”
Charmaine says the condition has made her life incredibly difficult. She was in an 18-year marriage but she separated from her husband three years ago.
Looking after her two sons Caleb, 19 and Osiris, but says it is financially tough as no one will hire her.
Although she tries to remain in good spirits, she says people running away and making comments does get to her.
She has also been horrified by suggestions she should commit suicide.
She said: “I get a lot of stares if I go out and a lot of people bring me down.
“I see myself as a beautiful person and I try not to let people affect me. I can’t let myself be affected by everyone’s opinions.
“Some people do say some horrible things. Some people, especially children, get scared of me and run away.
“One person even told me that if they were in my position they would kill themselves.
“But I’m a happy person. At the end of the day I do everything that a normal person does. How could I think about doing anything to harm myself?
“Some people with neurofibromatosis might not feel able to carry on but I do.
“I cannot work because nobody wants to hire me. And I cannot walk far or stand for a long time as the weight of the all the growths is so great and it gets painful. Financially it gets very difficult sometimes.
“I have been out of a relationship for three years. It is very hard to find someone else.
“My sons are very loving children and I am very proud of them. But sometimes they are shy to bring friends home.
“I don’t want everyone talking about me to them, and I don’t want people to say mean things to them, so I do not go to school functions and I always talk to teachers on the phone rather than go to see them.
“I do not go out if I do not have to, but I do go to the shops and to other places I need to visit.”
Charmaine feels she has run out of options for treatment in Trinidad and is turning abroad once again to try and find help.
She said: “I would love to have proper treatment. A couple of years ago I travelled to a clinic in Maryland for four days and they were able to help me.
“I would like to go back or try anywhere else that could help me, whether that is in the US or the UK or anywhere in Europe or Australia.
“Here in Trinidad it is impossible to get help.”