In 2009, an allergic reaction to medication treating an asthma attack left Shanyna Isom with an uncontrollable itch that eventually developed into hard bumps all over her body. It took two years before doctors finally figured out what was happening to her: instead of growing hair, she was growing nails -- like those on fingers -- in the follicles' place.
As of July 31, 2012, Isom wrote on her Facebook page that it had been a full year since she had lost all of her hair to the mysterious illness.
Doctors are still trying to determine how exactly to cure Isom, who is thought to be the only person in the world with this condition. WMCTV reports that the 28-year-old Memphis woman has to be helped by friends and family to simply rise from her bed and perform other daily activities:
"As of right now, I am the only one in the world with my illness," Isom said.
While Johns Hopkins researchers work to cure her, loved ones rally around her.
"We know that God is a healer and he's going to bring her through," Carrie Isom, Shanyna's Grandmother said.
"At this point I just do everything I can to get the help that's needed for her," said Shanyna's friend Tolungia Webb.
"I love her and I know that she's gonna get better," friend Karintha Rawls said.
It was in 2011 when Isom was accepted into Johns Hopkins University that doctors were finally able to diagnose just what was going on with her body. They found out her hair follicles were producing 12 times the number of cells than they should have been, causing develop human nails to develop instead of hair.
"Where hair grows, nails are growing," Isom said according to WMCTV.
"It's almost as if it's a nightmare and you're trying to wake up out of that," a woman speaking about Isom said in the report.
Watch the report:
Doctors have gotten her symptoms under control but they still are working to cure her. She currently takes 17 medications, only five of which are covered by her state-issued insurance. Out-of-state care is not covered by insurance either. Due to these factors, she has about $250,000 in medical costs). On August 24, the S.A.I. Foundation created to help raise funds to cover these costs will host a fundraiser in Memphis. Someday, Isom hopes her foundation will also be able to help others suffering an unknown illness.