One woman saw what turned out to be a live worm wriggling inside her face. Another felt brain fluid leaking out of her nose, and a third unfortunate victim had a maggot burrowed in her leg for months. Nope, these aren’t plotlines from a horror movie; they’re real bodily issues that made headlines in 2018. We’ve rounded up seven of the most bizarre health stories of the last 12 months, so you can reflect on just how weird this year really was (and be thankful they didn’t happen to you).
RELATED: A Woman Died From Brain-Eating Amoebas After Using a Neti Pot—Here’s Why
A worm was living in a woman’s face
All of our worst nightmares came true when a woman in Russia found a live worm wriggling in her face. The 32-year-old first noticed a bump underneath her eye, which then moved above her eye a few days later. Ten days after that, the bump settled into her upper lip. After two weeks, the woman brought herself to a doctor, where a living parasite was surgically removed and identified as Dirofilaria repens, the long, thin white worm shown above. This parasite typically infects animals, but when a human ends up as host, a mosquito is to blame.
RELATED: A Florida Woman Discovers Deeply Embedded Maggot in Her Groin
Amoeba ate a woman’s brain after she used a neti pot
After suffering a seizure, a 69-year-old woman was admitted to a Seattle hospital. Doctors initially thought she had a brain tumor, but it turned out to be a much deadlier condition, one that was literally eating her alive. A rare amoeba (Balamuthia mandrillaris) was feasting on her brain. She contracted the infection about a year earlier after using non-sterile water in a neti pot (a small device that rinses the nasal cavities to clear congestion). The woman unfortunately passed away.
A man coughed up a blood clot in the shape of his lung
A California man made the saying “I coughed up a lung” almost true. The 36-year-old was admitted to the ICU with chronic heart failure, and throughout his stay in the hospital, he regularly coughed up blood and mucus. But one coughing spell was worse than the others. He coughed up a tree-like blood clot in a perfect mold of his right bronchial tree. The man died the following week from heart failure complications.
RELATED: This 38-Year-Old Woman Had an 132-Pound Ovarian Tumor Removed
Brain fluid leaked out of a woman’s nose
An Omaha woman was told for years that allergies were the cause of her chronically runny nose and severe headaches. Finally she discovered the real culprit: fluid leaking from the area around her brain. Doctors diagnosed her with a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, which apparently started after a car accident in 2013. Since then, she’d been losing approximately 8 ounces of fluid a day. Her doctors were able to plug her leak using her own fatty tissue.
A maggot hid in a woman’s groin for months
Imagine if what you thought was an ingrown hair was actually a larva that burrowed its way under your skin? That’s what happened to a 36-year-old woman in Florida who had a lesion on her leg for months before doctors figured out the cause. The maggot embedded itself in her skin while she was on her honeymoon in Belize, and it stayed there for quite some time. Talk about an unwanted guest. The lesion healed shortly after the larva was removed.
RELATED: A Moving Bump on This Woman’s Face Turned Out to Be a Live Worm
Electric shocks in a woman’s leg were caused by a tapeworm
A 35-year-old French woman went to the emergency room after feeling “electric shocks” in her legs. She had been experiencing worsening symptoms for months, suffering repeated falls. Doctors ultimately discovered that a parasite had made its way to her ninth vertebra. Doctors determined it was the Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm, which is most commonly found in animals. The woman made a full recovery after it was removed.
Doctors removed a 132-pound tumor from a woman’s abdomen
Earlier this year, doctors in Connecticut removed a 132-pound benign mucinous ovarian tumor from a 38-year-old woman. She first noticed something was off when she began to rapidly gain weight in her abdomen; she was gaining about 10 pounds each week. A gynecologist then identified the tumor with a CT scan. It became so large, the woman had to use a wheelchair and could barely digest food. Thankfully, doctors were able to remove the tumor after five hours of surgery.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter