A man and a woman are covered with thousands of small ‘bubble tumors’ between them after they are both born with the same genetic disorder.
Gail Appelgre, 58, and Tim Golumbia, 55, from Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, have neurofibromatosis (NF), causing painful masses to grow along their nervous tissue.
Mrs. Appelgre, whose tumors cover 90 percent of her body, said she was too busy for love before a mutual friend introduced her to Mr. Golumbia in August 2010.
Golumbia, who has a less serious form of the disorder, claims that he immediately knew that they were “meant together.”
They started talking every day and soon discovered that they have a lot in common, least of all their shared state. They became engaged in 2014.
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Gail Appelgre and her husband Tim Golumbia (in the photo together) are covered with thousands of small “bubble tumors” between them after both are born with the same genetic condition
The lucky couple has neurofibromatosis, which causes masses to grow on their nervous tissue
Mrs Appelgre’s condition is more serious than that of her husband, with tumors covering 90 percent of her body. She adds that “the entire trunk has bumps from wall to wall” (photo), with the tumors growing on top of each other and one even being the “size of her fist”
Speaking of their relationship, Mrs. Appelgre said: “Finding Tim was very reassuring to me, because we could share many of the same experiences as living with neurofibromatosis.
‘I am so proud of what we both achieved together. We complement each other in so many ways. We always like to say that we have NF, but it doesn’t have us. ”
Golumbia added: “Gail is my whole world, we just like to do it together.
“I’m so proud of her. She has that genuine, caring side and compassion for people working on what we are doing now – trying to educate people about NF. ”
Mrs. Appelgre, a retired social worker, was not looking for love until a friend insisted that she contact Mr. Golumbia nine years ago.
“My colleague said:” Gail, there is this man and he has the same as you. He’s about the age of you and you have to call him, “Mrs. Appelgre said.
“I called him on a Sunday night and we talked for about an hour, and found that we had so much in common, as well as our condition of course.
“We spoke every day from that moment and Tim sent me flowers.”
Mr. Golumbia added: “I think we almost knew we were meant to be together at the time. I suggested not long afterwards and she said yes. “
Mrs. Appelgre is one of seven children, the three of whom have the youngest NF.
Her sister Linda Morgan said: ‘When I first discovered that Gail and Tim were dating, I thought it was so great – it should be!
“Tim is sweet and Gail has always earned someone dear. I hope that the future holds many years of happiness in store for them. ”
The happy couple got married five years ago, surrounded by their best friends and family.
Mrs Appelgre has been banned from public swimming pools because of the fear that she is contagious
The couple (pictured together) knew that they were “meant to be together” after being introduced by a common friend. They started talking every day and Mr. Golumbia quickly asked the question
Golumbia has less severe neurofibromatosis than his wife, but still has bullying
The couple likes to spend time together and know that the future has ‘beautiful things’ in it
Mrs. Appelgre has always had a large tumor on her chest and countless flat birthmarks, but it was only when she turned 12 that the tumors began to multiply.
She was finally diagnosed with NF at the age of 14 after developing a large mass on her chest that hung down and grew under her armpit.
Mrs. Appelgre inherited her mother’s condition, while Mr Golumbia took place randomly because of a genetic mutation.
Mrs Appelgre left the situation alone with 180 growths, as well as tumors twice the size of her fist on her back.
“My entire trunk has wall-to-wall bumps,” she said. “There are so many that they grow on top of each other or apart.
“The largest is on my stomach and others range from the size of my fist to my stomach and one to my back and tailbone that was twice my fist size, to smaller than that.”
Golumbia’s condition became clear when he was only seven or eight, making school difficult.
“I had some good friends at school, but it was very difficult because of the bullying,” he said. ”
Mrs Appelgre alone had 180 small growths on her hand and wrist (photo)
Golumbia did not send flowers to his now wife Mrs. Appelgre long after they met
Mrs Appelgre’s growths also cover her face and neck and cause her severe pain
As the couple grew older, it was Mrs. Appelgre who suffered the most.
“I get a lot of looks when I’m in public or wherever I am,” she said. “I realize that I don’t look like everyone.”
“Once in a coffee bar this lady approached me and said,” I am a nurse and I know exactly what you have. Just so you know when you die and stand before God, you will be beautiful. bumps “.
“And I said,” Well, I think I’m beautiful now, “and she just shook her head and said,” No, no, you’re not, “and walked away. I think I am unique and special.
‘I have been asked not to swim in swimming pools or if I sit next to someone, they will often get up and move. I have had people around me praying and praying for me. “
And some people even think that Mrs. Appelgre has passed on the condition to her husband.
“We were on a flight to our vacation destination when the flight attendant told me that someone was on the plane and thought I was contagious,” she said.
“They added that my husband should have caught it from me because he didn’t have that many bumps.”
People assume that Mrs. Appelgre passed the disease on to her husband because he was less severe
The couple is pictured smiling together while being filmed for a documentary
Mrs. Appelgre has undergone about 40 surgeries to help manage the pain of her condition and only went under six times last year.
“The hardest part for me is the pain associated with the condition,” she said.
But every operation is a risk. “When I had removed part of the size from my chest, they almost lost me because I lost so much blood, but I was determined and lived on,” Mrs. Appelgre said.
Determines the stay positively, the couple is a member of NF awareness groups online.
“We do so much to draw attention to NF and to support individuals and families living with it,” said Mrs. Appelgre.
“I’m sure the future holds the best things for us both.”
What is neurofibromatosis?
NEurofibromatosis is the name of a group of disorders that cause nodules to grow on the nerves.
There are two main types, the most common being Type 1 or NF1. It affects about one person in 3,000 to 4,000. There is no known cure.
NF is caused by a mutation in one of the genes. About half of the people with NF have no family history of the condition.
This is called a spontaneous gene mutation. The other half of the people will have inherited NF from their mother or father.
Some patients are affected by neurofibromas, which usually appear during adolescence.
These can first appear on the skin as a purplish mark, before a small fibrous bump appears.
They can also grow along deeper nerves in the body, which can be painful if struck.
The nodules can increase in number during the life of a person.
NF has also been associated with an increased risk of stroke as growths develop on neurons in the brain and cut off blood flow from the organ.
There is no treatment to prevent the lumps from appearing, although surgery or laser treatment can sometimes be used to remove them.