Woman proud of rare condition that makes her skin look like fish scales

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Brittany Mickens. (Photo: MEDIADRUMWORLD/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)
Brittany Mickens. (Photo: MEDIADRUMWORLD/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

When Brittany Mickens (31) from Virginia, US, was born, she was rushed to a nearby children’s hospital because doctors had no clue what was wrong with her skin.

Her family was told she wouldn’t live past the age of one.

As the fitness instructor grew older, her skin became thick, dry and scaly but doctors dismissed this as an extreme case of eczema and prescribed strong creams as a treatment.

“I was misdiagnosed as a child and was told that I had really bad eczema,” Brittany said.

The treatment only worked for a few weeks before her skin reverted to its previous condition.

Brittany revealed that people would stare at her but thanks to her mom, Wanda, who’d instilled a strong sense of self-love in her since she was a child, she learnt to love herself.

“Growing up looking a certain way was pretty tough but my mother made sure to build me up and told me I’m beautiful.

“I would get a few stares, but it was rare that anyone would say anything to me about my skin. I didn't feel any different, but I knew I was different. My mother made sure that I accepted myself and I was proud to be who I was.

Brittany Mickens

“She would often make me look in the mirror and repeat ‘I love you, you are beautiful’ over and over again.

“And one day I finally realised what she was doing, and I’m so grateful for her making me do that.

“She was extremely important, if it weren't for her constantly instilling positive affirmations in me, I wouldn't be as confident as I am. She never let me dwell on the fact that I was different,” she said.

It wasn’t until she started university and went to a new dermatologist that she was diagnosed with ichthyosis, a group of genetic skin disorders characterised by dry, scaling skin that may be thickened or very thin, according to First Skin Foundation.

“When I went to college and found a new dermatologist, that's when I found out that I had ichthyosis.

“Because I had the wrong diagnosis all of the medicines prescribed to me only worked for a few weeks,” Brittany said.

Brittany keeps her skin well moisturised at all times to prevent it from becoming painful.

She said she’s extremely grateful for her family’s support.

Brittany Mickens

“My family and friends love it and have always encouraged me to be the best version of myself.

“My tribe is always uplifting me and have told me they admire me and my strength.

“I absolutely love me. I’m grateful to be me. The way I feel about myself keeps my attitude positive and I want to inspire others.

“To others I’d say always love yourself and you were chosen to deal with this for a reason, it’s all in how you deal with it. Perspective is key, always remain positive and it’s best to work on your heart first.

“The journey isn’t always easy, but you're here so do it with a smile.”

Source: Magazine Features

Pictures: MEDIADRUMWORLD/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

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