A mother, suffering from three serious illnesses, which have burdened her all over with tumors and a strongly curved back, finally embraces her.
Vanessa Cornelio, 25, of Glendale, Arizona, was born with the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue.
She was also diagnosed with scoliosis, causing her spine to buckle, and kyphosis, causing the spine to bend outward at just four years.
After she was driven to depression by her appearance, Miss Cornelio finally accepted her appearance when her two-year-old son, Daniel jr. Your NF inherited.
"I do not want my son to see his mother depressed, I do not want him to see that I'm not doing anything I've done," she said.
Vanessa Cornelio was born with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF), which causes tumors to grow on the nerve tissue (seen on her stomach). Having been driven to depression by her looks, Miss Cornelio has accepted her appearance after the birth of her son
Miss Cornelio's two-year-old son Daniel Jr. (both pictured), whom she shares with her fiance Daniel Robles, inherited NF from his mother. After being diagnosed, Miss Cornelio decided that she did not want to set a bad example for her son by holding back from the disease
Miss Cornelio has performed ten operations to straighten her spine. Here, metal bars were used to fix their spine. Shown is an X-ray after one of the rods has been separated from its vertebrae. This happened four weeks after surgery when she leaned forward
Miss Cornelio shares Daniel Jr. with her fiancé Daniel Robles, whom she met in a restaurant almost four years ago.
Although she was thrilled to have met someone after she thought it would never happen to her, she admits that getting pregnant was difficult.
"The most difficult moment for my condition was my pregnancy because I was worried all along that I could not support carrying a baby," Miss Cornelio told Barcroft TV.
"I was scared I was going to hurt my baby or my spine would snap or one of my bars would burst."
Although the pregnancy was on schedule, Daniel Jr. was diagnosed with NF at birth.
Regarding her son's diagnosis, Miss Cornelio said, "I was scared. These tumors can grow on your brain. These tumors can grow on your feet. These tumors can grow on the stomach.
"I still do not know what he can get when he gets older, but I know what to look for, I know what to look for, I do everything I can to make sure he's okay.
Although Miss Cornelio is unable to play with her son or wear him like other mothers, she does everything to ensure that he has a full life.
She even tells the youngster that he helped her accept her uniqueness.
"It was not until my son and Daniel came into my life that I realized who I am and accept myself," said Miss Cornelio.
"Daniel accepts me, my son accepts me and that's all that really matters."
Miss Cornelio met Mr. Robles (pictured) almost four years ago while working in a restaurant. She was not at first honest about her condition and hid her stomach. Miss Cornelio claims that her son's adoption and her fiancée strengthened her confidence
After the metal bar broke loose in her spine, Miss Cornelio underwent surgery that left her unable to sit upright (seen after surgery). The picture on the right shows her as a child, when her spine gradually creased due to her scoliosis and kyphosis
What is neurofibromatosis?
NEurofibromatosis is the name of a group of conditions in which clots form on the nerve coverings.
There are two main types, the most common being Type 1 or NF1. It affects about one person from 3,000 to 4,000. There is no known cure.
NF is caused by a mutation in one of the genes. About half of people with NF have no family history.
This is called a spontaneous gene mutation. The other half of the people inherited NF from their mother or father.
Some sufferers are affected by neurofibromas, which usually occur in adolescence.
These may appear on the skin first as a purple marker before a small fibrous lump occurs.
They can also grow along deeper-seated nerves in the body, which can be painful when tapped.
The number of lumps can increase during a person's lifetime.
NF has also been implicated in an increased risk of stroke when growth on the nerve cells in the brain and the blood supply to the organ is interrupted.
There is no treatment to prevent the occurrence of lumps although sometimes surgery or laser treatment can be used to remove them.
Miss Cornelio underwent approximately 15 operations – five to remove her tumors and the rest to straighten her spine with metal bars.
Although she went under the knife several times, she still fights against the daily discomfort.
"The pain is just there, I do not know how to describe it, back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, neck pain – there is a lot of pain," said Miss Cornelio.
Not only do they have to learn to cope with the agony of their condition, but also the risk of becoming more serious.
"I could have my spine collapse on my lungs or I could lose that feeling in my legs," said Miss Cornelio.
With Daniel Jr., Miss Cornelio has helped accept her terms, but she is still struggling with the daily pains that affect her back, hips, shoulders, and neck. She also lives in the fear that her spine might collapse and crush her lungs or that she may lose the feeling in her legs
Miss Cornelio is pictured at the age of four before her first operation. The 10-hour surgery was aimed at correcting her curved spine. At that time, her NF appeared only as a birthmark, as she developed at 12 or 13 years to tumors
As a baby, Miss Cornelios NF looked like moles on her torso that developed into lumps with age.
"My physical appearance was different at the time I was 12 or 13 years old, and not the way a normal woman's body should be," she said.
"I did not have any breasts, I did not have the buttocks, I did not have what all of them did at that age, I had tumors on my stomach, I had back surgery.
"People would ask me if I was pregnant because of tumors in my stomach and it shut me down a lot because I just had belly fat.
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine in S-shape.
Signs include a visible curvature of the spine, a shoulder or hip that is highlighted more than the other, garments that are not hanging properly, and back pain.
Pain usually affects only adults with this condition.
In most cases the cause of scoliosis is unknown, but it can be caused by cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.
In the UK, three to four children out of every 1,000 children may be affected by scoliosis.
It is also believed that 70% of people over the age of 65 have some degree of scoliosis.
It is more common in women than in men.
Most children with this condition do not need treatment as it is mild and corrects as the child grows.
In severe cases, however, the child must wear a back support until it stops growing.
Occasionally, a child needs surgery to straighten the spine.
In adults, it is usually too late to treat the condition with a back support or surgery. The treatment is therefore about the pain relief.
Source: NHS choices
"It's hard to have what I have in my body and to be alright because women all over the world train, they have perfect bodies, they have everything."
Not only was Miss Cornelio confronted with the challenges of the NF, but at the age of four she had her first surgery to correct her curved spine.
In scoliosis, the spine curves sideways, while in the kyphosis also the backbone bends outward, which leads to an amazement.
Miss Cornelio claims that she was in the first operation "Cut from the neck to the coccyx".
But the operation was not the end of her suffering.
In 2007, when Miss Cornelio was 14 years old, a medical examiner noticed that part of the pole holding her spine had come off the vertebrae.
After undergoing surgery to fix it, she heard a bang just four weeks later during basketball training as she leaned forward to drink some water.
Although she did not think about it at the time, Miss Cornelio lost her legs in the next few weeks.
When she went to her doctor, she learned that the tail had torn at her back.
Due to the correction, Miss Cornelio could not sit upright, forcing her to perform a second operation on another doctor who eventually managed to fix the problem.
She then underwent physiotherapy for months to get back to work.
Her mother Lucinda said, "Once she did not believe she could walk. At one point her legs gave way, and that was the most frightening. "
But Miss Cornelio persisted and finally regained her legs.
Although she has not been operated on since then, she still does not feel 100 percent in her legs and lives with constant back pain.
Miss Cornelio is pictured after her first operation, which was attended by NBA player Shawn Marion
Despite her daily discomfort, Miss Cornelio has refused to allow her condition to keep her from living her life.
And you Mr. Robles has always shown her unwavering support.
"Vanessa did not really tell me about her condition [at first]… she finally showed me, "he said.
"When I saw her, I just saw another girl. And in the end, she fell in love with her. "
Miss Cornelio added, "Daniel loves me the way I am, and he wants me to do everything that makes me happy, and I really love that.
"I never had that, I never thought I'd have someone like him in my life."
Portrayed as a child with her brother, Miss Cornelio struggled as she went through puberty because she did not develop the body of a "normal" teenage girl and was instead covered with painful tumors. "I did not have what everyone went through at this age," she said
Since the birth of her son, Miss Cornelio has started a YouTube channel documenting her life.
And for the first time ever, she published a picture on social media showing her tumors.
She also had a boudoir photo shoot with her fiancé, which she said helped her get out of her shell.
I wanted [the photographer] to catch me naked, my spine, my back, my tumors and everything, "said Miss Cornelio.
"It's just another way to create memories, and I feel like I've had such a tough life and never talked about it.
"I never opened up about my condition, I never said anything and I literally lived in this room all my life.
"I want to reach and hopefully be the voice for those who are afraid because I can tell you that I was completely scared.
She added, "Now I do not care anymore because I have this condition. I have what I have and I have to accept it.
"And I have to make sure that my son accepts himself and has only a good attitude and stays positive because I've been negative all my life and I'm done to be negative."
WHAT IS CYPHOSIS?
Kyphosis is a curvature of the spine that causes the back of the vertebrae to appear rounder than normal.
Although everyone has a slight curvature in the spine, a bend greater than 45 degrees is considered abnormal.
A curved or curved back may be the only symptom.
Some, however, may also suffer:
- Backache and stiffness
- Tenderness of the spine
Kyphosis can be caused by poor posture, abnormally shaped spine, abnormal backbone development in the womb, spinal injury, or simply by age.
The treatment depends on how severe the condition is and whether the patient has other symptoms.
Children can benefit from non-surgical procedures such as bracing. In mild cases, however, no treatment may be required.
Surgery is required only in severe cases.
Untreated extreme kyphosis can cause persistent pain that is not relieved by medication, as well as difficulty in breathing when the spine compresses the airway or lungs.
Patients may also experience numbness in their limbs, poor balance and loss of normal bowel or bladder control.
The kyphosis can be prevented somewhat by avoiding loose movements, sitting upright, not carrying heavy bags and strengthening the back.
Source: NHS Choices