A WOMAN who is so allergic to sunlight she can barely leave the house says a charity has transformed her life.
Carol Tuscher, 51, of Parsons Heath, Colchester, was diagnosed with discoid lupus earlier this year.
Mrs Tuscher said she had symptoms of the bizarre condition for eight years, but she was finally diagnosed after her skin started to badly burn and peel off when she went out.
She said: “I was going out to the shops and my skin was burning off – not like sunburn, but like someone was pouring boiling water over me.
“I saw so many different doctors and nobody knew what it was.
“I even went private and they said I was allergic to some medication. But my hands were three times their size and burning up.”
Mrs Tuscher, whose arms, legs, face and eyes were affected, eventually saw a dermatologist at Essex County Hospital, Colchester, who diagnosed her lupus.
It is a condition caused by the immune system attacking healthy cells, tissue and organs. Discoid lupus is a mild form of it that only affects the skin.
It means Mrs Tuscher is allergic to UV rays and lights.
Previously, Mrs Tuscher had suffered from arthritis and haemochromatosis – too much iron in her blood – which are both also symptoms of lupus.
She contacted the Colchester Catalyst Charity to see if it could help – and it donated £485.
The charity offers financial assistance for special medical or mobility equipment.
Mrs Tuscher said: “I was cleaning my windows and getting burnt. They stepped in and paid for Dermaguard on my windows. It stops 99 per cent of the UV rays coming into my house.”
“I was so grateful to them.
Now I can clean the windows and at least stand at the windows to look out.
“Catalyst have changed my life completely. They are amazing.”
However, the condition still provides her with daily battles, and Mrs Tuscher is barely able to leave her home for fear of getting burnt.
“If I do go out, I get ridiculed because I have to wear a cap and sunglasses or a scarf over my nose and around my eyes. I have been name-called in Tesco. People can be quite cruel.”