Isom has consulted several specialists, including a doctor in the Netherlands, but she still as no idea what is wrong with her.
“Black scabs were coming out of her skin,” said her mother, Kathy Gary.
“The nails would grow so long and come out and regrow themselves. They are hard to touch and stick you.”
Yes… you read right. Oddly enough fingernails have begun to grow from the hair follicles all over Isom’s body.
Details + more photos below (WARNING! Images are graphic and may be disturbing!)
Isom’s disease has affected not only her skin, but her bones and her vision. The once vibrant single mother is now unable to walk without a cane, and her mother has to help her out of bed every day.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, where Isom is being treated, told her family that she is the only person in the world with this unknown condition.
And now she has $500,000 in unpaid medical bills. Isom has state insurance, but it doesn’t cover medical care in Maryland. Her mother lost her job as a medical receptionist because she looks after her daughter at home, so savings have dried up.
Friends and family of the young woman have organized fundraisers, and her high school has dedicated a football game to her charity. Bank of America has even agreed to take donations at any of their branch offices.
Shayna also has a blog called Pray for Shanyna where she shares her thoughts and fears surrounding her illness:
It has taken all of my hair out and has left my body with scabs all over it, plus I have lost about 200 pounds.
Two years ago, I was a healthy woman on my own … had big dreams and goals that I was following until one day my body completely shut down on me.
According to WLBT in Memphis, Isom was a junior studying criminal justice when the mystery illness first occurred in September 2009.
Her doctors suspected that steroids she’d been subscribed for a previous asthma attack had caused an allergic reaction of some sort. However, after returning home, Isom began itching.
“It was uncontrollable and we didn’t know what it was,” said her mother.
Soon, her legs turned black. “It looked as if she had been in a house fire and gotten burned.”
Doctors thought she had eczema or a staph infection and prescribed drugs, but it got worse. Meanwhile, all tests came back negative.
“We could not figure out what was going on,” said her mother. “She was just breaking out everywhere. Her body was scabbed all over.”
Today Isom is slowly improving but she is on at least 25 medications (her insurance only pays for five of them). She is currently awaiting the results of genetic tests that may give doctors clues to what is wrong.
Life is short and there is never any guarantees that your health tomorrow will be the same as today but Shayna is surviving with the help of prayer and the love of her family and friends.
CLICK HERE to read more about her story.