"This is a very rare disorder. Certainly, less than one in a million," said Dr. John Graham, director of clinical genetics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. "Proteus syndrome is named for the Greek God who could change his form. And because it was such an apt description of how these individuals rapidly change form from appearing relatively normal as young children to this startling overgrowth, the name has remained with the disorder ever since then."
Sellars was born with a noticeable difference between her upper and lower body. As her body grew, her legs and feet grew twice as fast. No treatment could help.
Because her condition remained such a mystery, she often seemed to be on the edge of disaster. In college, she was once suddenly paralyzed because of a blood clot that required 10 weeks of hospitalization. When a plastic surgeon tried liposuction to reduce the bulk in her legs, more tissue grew back than had been removed.
"In my mind, the condition has a mind of its own," Sellars said, "because whatever you take away grows back bigger and bigger."
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(image credit: Caroline Borge/ABC News)