A woman from Minnesota suffering from a bizarre immunological disorder makes her allergic to almost everything, including her husband.
Last year, 29-year-old Johanna Watkins was diagnosed with an incredibly rare disorder called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). The illness has forced her to remain in her room without sunlight or basically any contact with the outside world.
Before being diagnosed with MCAS, Watkins was just any other girl in her twenties. She now spends her days in her bedroom, away from society, and surrounded by air filters.
Watkins is so sensitive to smells that her family actually has to do all the cooking at neighbor's homes. While the illness is hard to bear, the hardest thing for Johanna is the isolation. Johanna and her husband of three years, Scott Watkins, can't have very much contact at all.
"I can't get too close," Johanna's husband Scott told Fox 9. "I can't hug her safely. I can't hug her without hurting her."
The live in the same house, but Scott lives downstairs while Johanna stays in the master, according to Daily Mail.
"As soon as that door opens, I can feel it," Johanna said. "My body goes into complete attack mode. It feels like my body is waging war on itself. My throat automatically tightens. It kind of feels like Darth Vader doing a chokehold."
The majority of Johanna's communication comes via Skype.
Johanna struggles with going to the doctor because it is glimpse of the life she used to know outside of her bedroom.
"The windows in my room are covered with sheets and blinds because I react to the sun," Johanna said on her Caringbride page. "The only time I leave my room is to go to one of these appointments, the hospital, or the ER. When that happens, I get little snapshots of what's going on outside. This past Tuesday I saw a golden tree. I got to see my husband drive a car like a wild man."
"These moments make me miss things, especially in the fall - my favorite time of year," Johanna said. "I miss the sun, the trees, and walking under changing leaves. I miss being in God's creation. But the creation I miss the most isn't the landscape, even though that's amazing, it's the people. To sit down and listen. To be a part."
In most cases, MCAS is treatable. Sadly for Johanna, doctors are still trying to find a successful treatment for her given that her case is so extreme.
We commend Johanna and Scott Watkins for their bravery in sharing their story.