A mother struggling with a genetic condition that has left benign tumors all over her body is hoping to undergo surgery so she can lead a more normal life.
Christina Acosta, 50, of Fullerton, Calif., has neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a disorder that has caused the left side of her face to deteriorate for the past 48 years.
"Sometimes when I am walking to the store or going somewhere, they look at me or they point and stare,” Acosta told InsideEdition.com. “Some people think I am contagious, but it’s genetic."
Acosta was diagnosed with the disorder before the age of 2, but it wasn’t until she was in her 20s that the tumors started popping up all over her body.
The disorder has caused her to lose her hearing in her left ear, as well as blindness in one eye.
Due to the severity of the rare disorder, Christina no longer works full-time, but is currently working as a telemarketer from home.
“I get really bad headaches, my body is in pain all the time and I’m always in and out of the hospital,” Acosta said. “I get throbbing pain where the tumors are and it hurts even if I or someone else lightly touches my face.
She said she was teased as child, but now her 8-year-old daughter has had to endure bullying from her classmates.
Acosta is trying to raise $30,000 for operations that would reshape her eyelid and reconstruct her facial figure — through GoFundMe and YouCaring.
Another procedure that Acosta hopes to have done in the future is electrodessication, which would remove hundreds of tumors from her back, stomach, chest, legs, arms and feet with an electrical current. Acosta said the surgeries would be life-changing.
“I know I’ll never look perfect, but I just want to look presentable. I want my condition to at least be less visible,” Acosta said. “I don’t want my daughter to deal with getting teased because of the way I look anymore.”
There is no cure for the condition.
“I have come to deal with it and accept it but sometimes I feel like as far as the medical field has come to help people, and it’s like ‘Yea, but not me,” Acosta said. “Sometimes I feel like giving up. It’s disheartening."