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A new face with a new outlook

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  • 1. A New Face With A New OutlookIve had a Port Wine Stain birthmark on my right cheek since the day I was born. It wasdark purple in color and spread from the bottom of my eyes to my lips. My Port WineStain looked like a dark purplish bruise; a bruise that would not leave me. To this day, noone knows what caused it. No other member of my immediate family was inflicted withit, before my birth or since.When I was about 40 days old, my parents took me to a very famous hospital in Canton,China. During that time, Port Wine Stain birthmarks were quite uncommon, and thedoctors did not know how to treat me. They considered using laser surgery, however, dueto the close proximity of the birthmark to my eye, they decided against it. They feared thelaser might damage the nerves in my right eye which would lead to blindness. Theyadvised my parents to hold off on the surgery until I was a bit older. My parents adheredto the advice and thus, it was not until many years later that I would again enter a doctor’soffice to rid myself of this ‘bruise’.Growing up with a Port Wine Stain in a Chinese family was very difficult. I tried to livemy life just like any typical child, not worrying how I looked, but all my relatives andfamily friends made me feel like an outcast. They treated me horribly, which of course,hurt my feelings deeply. I couldnt believe they could be so mean and emotionless,treating a child that way. I was depressed and unwilling to face the world for a very longtime, until one day when I realized that no one in this world was perfect, including myrelatives and family friends. Everyone has some imperfections. I dont know if they everrealized it, but I found that to be the truth. No one is perfect in this world, and to thosewho might think they are, I would say, "Wake up and smell the coffee!" My immediatefamily, however, was very supportive, as were my friends. I am lucky to have them.One day when I was doing volunteer work at Vancouver Childrens Hospital, I cameacross a poster of children born with facial marks. After making a number of phone calls,I was able to track down a dermatologist by the name of Dr. Harvy Lui, who specializedin the treatment of birthmarks. During that time, I didnt know what my birthmark wascalled. I only knew how to describe it. I was 19 years old. The time had come.Dr. Lui turned out to be Chinese, which was wonderful. I now had a doctor that not onlyunderstood my Port Wine Stain, but also understood the Chinese upbringing. This helpeda lot in dealing with not only my physical scars, but the emotional ones as well.Dr. Lui explained to me the kind of laser he was going to use to treat my Port Wine Stain.The treatment was called Pulse Dye Laser Treatment. He informed me that because ofmy yellow skin pigmentation, he could not predict the outcome of the treatment. We weregoing to have to wait and see. Unfortunately, he could not tell me in advance if any of thecolorization would go away, or how much of the surface area taken up by the stain woulddecrease in size after the treatment. However, Dr. Lui was willing to take on the
  • 2. challenge to make me look better. Two months after my initial consultation, I went to seeDr. Lui for my very first treatment. I was very frightened. My oldest sister came with me,and held my hand throughout the surgery. Dr. Lui used Emla to freeze my face. Afterwaiting for about 30 minutes, Dr. Lui was ready to do the surgery. We all had to weargoggles because of the laser. I will never forget how it felt when the first beam hit myface.It was so painful that words cannot describe it. Its basically like someone repeatedlysnapping an elastic band on your face, at a temperature of 100 degrees. It wasexcruciating. I screamed and cried after only one zip. Dr. Lui said we must go on. Thelaser treatment was so painful that I dont even remember how many zips he gave me, butit felt like at least a hundred. I cried with every zip. My eyes were red from crying, andmy face was so hot because of the heat, that it looked like it was burnt.After this first experience, I refused to go back and do more surgeries. In about oneweeks time my face healed. I was amazed. After two weeks, I could see holes in mybirthmark where the color of my skin was peeking through. My whole family was sopleased with the result of the first treatment, that they strongly encouraged me to do moresurgeries. I was very pleased with the results myself, so I managed to find other ways ofdealing with the pain. Now whenever I go in for surgery, I bring a disc-man and listen tomy favorite dance songs while Dr. Lui zips me with laser beams. It works just fine. Mymind concentrates on listening to my favorite songs. I hardly feel any pain.It has been twenty years now, that Ive been seeing Dr. Lui, and Ive had 69 lasertreatments. I think Dr. Lui is an amazing Doctor because hes helped a lot of patients withPort Wine Stain get the results that please them. My Port Wine Stain decreased to half thesize it was and the color is much lighter now. Where it was a dark purple, its now a lightpink. From afar you can hardly tell that I have a birthmark on my face. I will continueseeing Dr. Lui until my birthmark disappears completely. No rush. I will take my time.Ill go for treatments when I feel like it. Now Dr. Lui has a new laser machine, and whenit zips you, it doesnt hurt. The last time I went for a treatment I hardly felt any pain at all.I wasnt even listening to my music. I had forgotten my disc-man at home!I think Im very lucky to have a Port Wine Stain. Im not embarrassed by it, nor do I feellike an outcast because of it. I think Im just a normal person like everyone else in thisworld. I know for a fact that Im a little bit luckier than other people, because I got tomeet a wonderful doctor named Dr. Lui. He is not just my doctor, he is also a verysupportive friend. And Im very lucky to have a family that loves me no matter what Ilook like.To Read More Short Stories:http://www.shortstoriescorner.com