A woman was branded “Pinocchio” by vile trolls after a rare condition made her nose double in size.
Laudiane Fernandes has been battling haemangioma – non-cancerous growths that cause inflammation of the blood vessels – since she was born.
The condition triggered severe nosebleeds and seizures, which started when she was just five-years-old.
When she experienced these symptoms for the first time in primary school, she bled so much she was left in a pool of blood and had to be rushed to hospital.
Laudiane, from Alagoas, Brazil, continued to spend time in and out of hospital due to problems with her nose, eyes and scalp – until she was diagnosed with cavernous haemangioma aged 16.
The eyebrow microblader said: "As a child, I used to constantly have nosebleeds that would be painful and result in me losing a lot of blood."
Laudiane continued: "At five-years-old, I remember having a severe nosebleed whilst at school where I ended up sitting in a pool of my own blood. Within seconds, I began having a seizure which scared my teachers as they didn't know what was going on and I was rushed to hospital.
"As I arrived, medics struggled to make a diagnosis as there wasn't enough technology available like there is today.
"They tried to perform a cauterisation – a device which aims to burn off and remove part of the body – where they tried to burn off a few of my blood vessels in an attempt to stop me from bleeding, but this didn't work.
"Between the ages of nine and sixteen-years-old, I was in and out of hospital as medics struggled trying to diagnose my condition. I was constantly bleeding almost everyday and as the seizures began to get worse, I started fearing for my life.
"After multiple blood tests and scans, I was finally diagnosed with cavernous haemangioma – an abnormal accumulation of blood vessels under the skin – which in my case, affected my nose, eyes and scalp the most."
The beautician continued: "As my nosebleeds worsened to the point where I couldn't even go a day without profusely bleeding, I spent the majority of my time in hospital corridors where they could monitor my condition.
"Due to this, doctors decided that the best course of action would be to perform surgery on my nose where they would cut into it and remove a clump of blood vessels.
"I went on to have eight surgeries and in my final one, they tried reattaching the skin to my nose but this resulted in an infection and as a result, I lost part of my nose."
As Laudiane struggled to breathe after her nose op, doctors had no choice but to cut part of her right cheek off to use this to recontruct her nose.
She said: "I was left with a deviated septum after my surgery which brought me great difficulty breathing and due to this, I knew I had no other option but to let them take away a part of my cheek.
"After five hours, the process was complete and although I felt happy that my nose was finally whole again, I was sad about my appearance and all the scars I had been left with.”
As Laudiane recovered from her physical injuries, her condition started to take a toll on her mental health.
She said: "After three months, I was in and out of the hospital once again where they ensured that the skin wasn't rejected.
"I remember missing being with my friends at school and playing with them and I started to struggle mentally.
"In my darkest moments, I used to imagine a mountain of ice cream sitting in front of me which would always cheer me up.
"My mum used to cry and worry that we wouldn't have enough money to financially cover all of my surgeries and I used to feel down almost every day.”
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These feelings intensified as Laudiane was bullied when she returned to school.
She said: “Once I returned to school, I began getting comments from my peers such as 'How are you doing Pinocchio?' and 'You look like an alien with that nose,' which used to hurt my feelings and their constant bullying really took a toll on me.
"However, I learned to be strong and brave as I had no other option and if people couldn't accept my differences, then all that showed me is that they were unhappy with themselves.
"Sometimes I still get comments from people online which are just horrible and cruel such as, 'You look like Fiona from Shrek' and 'Only bulls have noses like that,' but my ordeal has taught me that you cannot let what others say affect you as life is so precious.”
Even though these comments can be hurtful, Laudiane focuses on the positives by feeling thankful she’s still alive.
She added: "Due to my condition, there were times where I could have stopped breathing or even bled out due to how much I was losing, but I thank God everyday that I am still here to tell my story.
"I am not ashamed or feel inferior to anybody else due to the way I look and I believe that my condition has actually made me stronger and it will not deter me from living out my dreams."
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