Freakish Medical Conditions
From elephant men to elephant balls, nature sometimes has a twisted sense of humor.
When we heard about a Las Vegas man with a 100-pound scrotum, our first thought was, "Well, that sucks" (after we stopped laughing like idiots). But 47-year-old Wesley Warren Jr.'s plight is no laughing matter. He suffers from scrotal elephantiasis, a rare disease that causes the skin and tissue around the testicles to swell to massive proportions.
Not surprisingly, it's made Warren a bit of a recluse. "It makes me stay in most of the time," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But he went public with his story recently, on Howard Stern's Sirius show no less, in the hopes of wrangling the close to $1 million it will cost him to have corrective surgery.
But Warren isn't alone. There are all kinds of bizarre diseases out there that have people hiding behind their shuttered windows. The next time you're feeling blue, be glad you don't have 100-pound balls and that you aren't literally blue.
What if you woke up one day and your skin had turned blue? That's the plight of people who have been infected with argyria, or blue man syndrome. It happens when people who have inhaled or ingested large quantities of colloidal silver, which is used in new-agey medicine to treat everything from cancer to herpes. The silver salts are deposited in your skin, turning it a strange silver-blue hue. While it isn't life-threatening, it might be the death if your social life because it's permanent and has no cure.
...But the Smurfs should still count their blessings compared to people born with harlequin ichthyosis. Most babies born with this rare skin disorder don't make it past the first few days, but thanks to new treatments, there are several people living with it. Harlequin ichthyosis results when your body produces more skin than it can shed, resulting in tough, dry scales that feel armor-like to the touch and peel off in patches, making sufferers susceptible to dangerous infections and even suffocation from the tight skin.
Chances are, the only exposure you've had to this rare condition, which causes multiple benign tumors all over the skin, is in the David Lynch movie The Elephant Man. The tumors might be benign, but their effect on your appearance, and ability to land a date, is pretty damaging.
If you thought Robin Williams was hairy, try needing a brush for your entire face. People with general hypertrichosis, or werewolf syndrome, grow excessive (to put it lightly) amounts of hair all over their body. It isn't life-threatening, though people can develop it as a side effect of cancer and even anorexia, and they'll have to watch out for astronomical waxing bills.
Speaking of werewolves, vampires get their own disease as well. Porphyria, a genetic disorder, causes photosensitivity, skin blisters and more prominent fangs. Serious cases result in mental disorders, vomiting, diarrhea and kidney failurenot to mention some weird-looking people.