September 24, 2020

Flesh-eating parasite turns mother-of-two into a recluse:

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By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline From Daily Mail UK

41-year-old underwent chemotherapy and was placed on support after being bitten on her dream cruise

went on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate her 35th birthday in 2011
She was left with wounds on the top of her head after being bitten by a parasite
On her return home, she found cysts under her hair which needed to be removed
However, the affected area continued to grow, forcing her to resign from her job as she was unable to leave her house
In the years since her dream holiday turned into a nightmare has been given an IV drip, had a blood transfusion and was even put on organ transplant medication
She also underwent chemotherapy and a skin graft

A dream holiday turned into a living nightmare when a mother-of-two’s scalp was left ravaged by a flesh-eating parasite.

Christi Barber, 41, was left with open wounds on the top of her head after going on a Caribbean cruise for her 35th birthday in 2011.

On her return home, she found several cysts under her hair which she had removed – but her condition worsened.

However, the affected area continued to grow and she found herself unable to continue working or even leave the house.

Doctors diagnosed her with Pyoderma Gangrenosum and she began undergoing chemotherapy – but they later admitted this was not responsible for her cysts.

Over the next two years Mrs Barber has been placed on an IV drip, had a blood transfusion and was even put on organ transplant medication.

Mrs Barber also found herself on life support as doctors desperately battled to keep her alive while they searched for the cause of her infection.

At one point Mrs Barber also underwent a skin graft on her scalp.

After seeing 11 different doctors, she has since been diagnosed with osteomyelitis, has been living with a pi-cue line and has been self-injecting antibiotics.

Mrs Barber, from Pittsburgh, hopes to raise enough money to buy herself a wig so she can finally leave the house.

The former marketing director said: ‘I believe it was a parasite I picked up. No one can give me an answer. It was the biggest nightmare.

‘It kept getting larger and more areas started to get infected and ulcerated. I cant even leave my house.

‘I was feeling horrible. I started taking antibiotics. I looked like a car-accident victim. I couldn’t leave the house.

‘My kids can’t understand what has happened. I was always very happy, outgoing, fit and healthy. My husband has had to look after me.’

After returning home from the trip to the Turks and Caicos islands, Mrs Barber began to feel sick.

On her return home, she found several cysts under her hair which she had removed – but her condition worsened (pictured days after returning home)

Despite initially believing she had motion sickness or even caught a bug, her state continued to worsen.

She noticed strange lumps on her skin, mainly her face and back, that were red, raised and aggravated.

I was feeling horrible. I started taking antibiotics. I looked like a car-accident victim. I couldn’t leave the house.

Mrs Barber even bumped her head on her closet, allowing her to become aware of a ‘squishy’ lump.

Sitting on the right side of her head, it was white and around the size of a pea, she claims.

Becoming concerned about what it was, she sought medical advice from a dermatologist.

A few months passed before they removed it in what was meant to be a routine ten-minute procedure.

However, it turned into a four hour surgery as they removed three hard spots from underneath the skin, which she described as ‘the most horrible thing’.

Mrs Barber then claims she ‘smelt an infection’ and told her doctor.

CHRISTI BARBER’S TIMELINE OF EVENTS

The day she was flying home from the cruise to Turks and Caicos: She began to feel nauseous and was throwing up

Days after returning to Pittsburgh in 2011: Mrs Barber kept getting sicker and began to notice strange red lumps on her face and back.

A few months later: Surgeons removed the cyst in a four-hour procedure

Over the next two years: Mrs Barber was placed on IV drip, started chemotherapy, was put on organ transplant medication, was put on life support and also underwent a skin graft

After seeing 11 different doctors, she had to medically resign from her job as she was unable to work.

For the next two years, she was placed on IV drip, had blood transfusion, began Chemotherapy and was put on organ transplant medication.

However, none of the treatments proved to work. In fact, she claims that it caused her finger nails to fall off alongside her hair removal.

Mrs Barber, who also suffers from Crohn’s disease, then underwent a skin graft in an attempt to rid her of her infection.

She said: ‘I had a pieces of my scalp falling off. It was awful, the worst pain in my life. They took skin from my leg and put it on my head.’

Osteomyelitis most commonly affects the long bones in the legs, but other bones can also be affected, the NHS says.

She is currently raising money to get to a specialist hospital next month for reconstruction of her head, while also hoping to raise funds for a wig.

Desperate for answers as to what caused the infection, she has started a GoFundMe page to help her raise money while she remains unemployed.

IMAGES:
Christi Barber, 41
Christi Barber, 41, was left with open wounds on the top of her head after going on a Caribbean cruise for her 35th birthday in 2011
However, the affected area continued to grow, meaning she was unable to continue working or even leave the house
However, none of the treatments proved to work. In fact, she claims that it caused her finger nails to fall off alongside her hair removal
However, the affected area continued to grow, meaning she was unable to continue working or even leave the house (pictured before her holiday)
After returning home from the trip to the Turks and Caicos islands, Mrs Barber began to feel sick (pictured on holiday with her friends)

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For more on this story go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4353212/Dream-holiday-turns-living-nightmare-mother.html#ixzz4cdGf33k8

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