In today's example of bizarre medical mysteries and reasons to be totally thankful you just have a hangnail comes the "unknown condition" of Shanyna Isom.
The 28-year-old beautician suffered an asthma attack last year and was pumped full of steroids. And then she had an allergic reaction that caused dark scabs to grow all over her body. Doctors thought she was having a staph infection, but results came back negative. She's seen specialists from all over the world, been treated for eczema, allergic reactions, and vitamin deficiencies, and has been given only one solid diagnosis:
She's the only person in the world suffering from an extreme surplus of that causes her body to produce fingernails instead of hair.
"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," she writes on her blog, Pray for Shanyna. "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 her blog, doctors at John Hopkins have determined that her body was producing 12 times the normal amount of skin cells in each hair follicle, which rapidly condensed into the equivalent of human nails.
Isom is currently undergoing treatment in Maryland and has started the S.A.I. Foundation to help individuals with mystery illnesses. Bank of America representatives say donations are being accepted in her name at any of their branch offices to cover more than $500,000 in medical bills.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.