Cruel strangers have mocked a nurse who suffers from a skin condition that leaves pieces peeling off on a monthly basis.
Q'Londa Harden, 26, has Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which involves the body's immune system overreacting to mild infections.
New medication can also trigger an episode, as can being on a period, when hormone surges cause blisters forming all over her body.
These painful blisters can burst, calling her skin black as it peels off. The health worker, from Alaska, USA, told Mirror Online the condition is unbearable.
She was diagnosed with the disorder when she was just 16 by an allergist and specialist.
Health inspector who 'raped nurse who requested Covid-negative certificate' arrested
Since then, her body's reaction to flare-ups has only got worse and although Q'Londa is on the birth control pill to manage her hormone levels, this hasn't always prevented her from developing symptoms.
A flare up in June 2020 caused by a sharp increase in hormone levels during her period left her with no skin on her vaginal and anal regions and it was the first time that her breasts, neck, thighs and legs were affected.
Q'Londa was hospitalised for four days, where she received pain medication, IV fluids and care from nurses who tended to her blistered raw skin.
Coronavirus 'Red Alert' hits UK towns as daily cases soar in five-month high
The condition has not only affected Q'Londa physically, but also mentally and she frequently questions why she has been chosen to go through this.
Whilst currently in a happy relationship with boyfriend Ashton, 28, Q'Londa admits that her condition has freaked out previous partners.
People stare at Q'Londa whenever she's out in public after a flare up and comment, 'what is wrong with her skin?' with one stranger telling her nobody would ever love her because of how she looks.
"This has been the most painful and embarrassing experience ever. It's getting worse every time I have a reaction," Q'Londa said.
"I'm stuck in a cycle of trying to avoid my triggers to keep my skin on my body. It has been a few years since I've had a really bad reaction but the latest one has been really hard on me.
Bruce Williamson dead: Temptations singer dies aged 50 after Covid battle
"I know a reaction is happening because it feels as if someone has set my body on fire. There is a constant feeling of burning and stretching.
"My eyes, lips, ears and vagina swell up. My body becomes covered in blisters, the blisters pop, my skin then peels off.
"People tell me that God made me this way which is absolutely true, but no one likes to walk in public and look like this. Let's be real.
"There's no cure and because my triggers are hormone induced there's not much I can do about it. I'm a woman and we all have hormones in our bodies.
'Coronavirus 2': Experts searching for 'Disease X' warn deadly new pandemics 'inevitable'
"I just want to tell people: when you see someone who looks like me, you clearly don't know what they're going through.
"It's already hard enough for me to get dressed and walk out of the door to the grocery store without people staring at me like I'm a frickin' zombie.
"People have said 'what's wrong with her', 'Eww, why are you covered in scars?' and 'No one is going to love you looking like this.'
"At first the comments hurt and made me sad and embarrassed. But I have to realise there is nothing I can do about it and you don't know these people so who cares. You probably won't see them again anyway.
"I already know I look crazy. I wake up every day and see myself in the mirror, so I don't need the added comments I receive.
New coronavirus symptom uncovered as disease linked to mysterious skin condition
"I need people to have more empathy and respect for other people like me."
Although stuck in a cycle of trying to avoid flare ups and doing her best to recover quickly when they do happen, Q'Londa has tried to remain positive.
As for the future, the treatment options are limited. However, giving Q'Londa low doses of chemotherapy has been suggested as a potential option and she is willing to try this.
This would work putting her in early menopause, keeping her from having a period and would theoretically keep her from having future reactions to her hormones.
"Me sitting feeling sad and depressed about this isn't going to make it go away so I choose to try and find the silver linings in this situation," Q'Londa said.
"I crack jokes and my siblings pick on me because you've got to make the best out of a bad situation.
"We joke about me being part zombie and that my skin on my face keeps re-healing and that it's nature's way of giving me a free face lift. That's why I look so young.
"For it to be ten years later and nothing has changed is hard. They're throwing the idea around of freezing my eggs and putting me on low dose chemotherapy to put me in menopause.
Source: Read Full Article