BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
A mum claims the beard-like mass of painful growths on her face that were caused by chicken pox and teen acne has ruined her marriage and left her jobless.
Iris Hudson, 35, of Cleveland, Ohio, USA, has been tormented by the hereditary raised scars known as keloids for almost three decades and her 25 surgeries have not helped one bit.
Sufferers experience the lumps after an injury heals and the collagen in the scar tissue overgrows during wound repair.
The clumpy masses have caused her extreme pain, anxiety, depression, unemployment and claims it even caused her to separate her from her husband of 17 years.
She also battles stares while out in public, even noticing strangers taking photos and videos of her.
The first signs of the growths began after her chicken pox cleared up at the age of eight and later, in her teen years, her acne caused more to form, particularly on her chest.
Iris, a former marketing director, said: “After the chicken pox went away, they started to develop for a good three or four months and later-on I started to get acne, which caused them to get even worse.
“I get constant flare ups and strikes of pain where the keloids are, especially at night and when I’m out in the sun.
“During the summer months, my skin basically feels like its burning all the time.
“I get anxiety when I have to go outside, and I get so depressed that I have to stay home and can’t work.
“None of the surgeries worked and some of them even made the problem worse.
“Anything touching them can cause pain. I even have to be cautious of what clothes I wear.
“My husband was always accepting of my keloids, but it got to the point where he just didn’t understand what I was going through and it tore us apart.
“People are always staring at me. Sometimes I just keep walking and sometimes I stare back.”
Her last resort will be Cryotherapy, the freezing of the growths, which is the only procedure she hasn’t yet undergone.
She hopes this method gets rid of the scars and stops the pain once and for all.
Iris said: “I’ve had everything but Cryotherapy, so I’m really hoping it works.
“I’d love to be able to return to work and start living my life again.”
Out of all the setbacks that have come with having the lumps, the most difficult part for her has been the struggle to prove to her 18-year-old daughter that she is a good role model.
Iris said: “I always made sure I was the best in school when I was younger and at my jobs when I got older. Now she’s followed in my footsteps and is exactly the same.
“I don’t think she remembers me working when she was younger, so I just want to be able to go back to work for her.”
Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian, a plastic surgeon specializing in keloids, says the condition affects millions worldwide and can be caused from an injury of any degree.
He said: “They are caused by injuries ranging from something as simple as acne to something as extreme as serious trauma.
“Keloids are overactive scars that grow beyond the footprint of the original injury.
Raffy added: “They can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
“They can present a major cosmetic issue, cause pain, affect sleeping patterns and limit the function of the body depending on where they are located.
“Treatments start with creams and gels, but if those can’t clear them up, it might be necessary to seek scar modulation procedures, injections, lasering and even surgeries.”
To donate to Iris’ fundraiser for Cryotherapy treatments, visit https://www.youcaring.com/irishudson-1058439.