People will go to extraordinary measures in order to save their own lives, and 23-year-old Xiao Yan is no exception.
The young woman from Longjing in China was afflicted with congenital melanocytic nevus, which is a certain type of lesion that impacts roughly 1 in 100 newborns.
Her large birthmark started turning cancerous. There was a roughly one to 10 percent chance of that happening. Obviously, she needed treatment, and she got it at a hospital in East China. Her skin is being stretched by four large balloons. They’re being put under her skin so as to grow new skin tissue, giving her enough skin that the birthmark can actually be removed.
You’d think that having that birthmark would have had a huge impact on Xiao’s life, but in spite of the challenge she was born with, Xiao reports that she had a happy and carefree childhood playing with friends. However, as she got older, the difference between her and other kids became “increasingly magnified”.
It started being painful last March, and that’s when doctors decided to treat the condition, as the pain could be indicative of cancer. Birthmarks like hers are more likely to turn cancerous than the normal moles many of us have.
Hopefully, Xiao will have a brand new face at the end of the ordeal. The doctors have actually promised as much. It has not been the easiest of roads for Xiao, as she is forced to walk around looking like she has the mumps. Her poor mother has even had to beg neighbors in the village to stop making fun of the young woman. She has been called “The Gourd Doll”, as the bumps on her face sort of resemble gourds.
The road to recovery certainly isn’t over yet. She has five more surgeries to endure, and Xiao reports that the process is extremely painful. She says it has gotten so bad that she’s wanted to slam her head into a wall. The treatment should, if everything goes well, conclude in June.
Her family has raised almost $16,000 to pay for the first stage of Xiao’s treatment, which commenced last fall.
Xiao is being a lot more brave and upbeat than a lot of us would be. After admitting that she used to feel sorry for herself, which is understandable, she said that she’s more positive now because she’s had the support of her family.
Her twin brother and rest of her family are currently raising funds for the remaining steps required for recovery. They’ve currently raised about $2,000.
As we mentioned, congenital melanocytic nevus is a type of mole that impacts roughly 1 percent of newborn babies. It is typically located on the head or neck. It is more or less classified by the size of the mole, and the marks tend to grow as the child does. They often become thick or raised as time goes on.
They are believed to be caused by mutations in the cells of the body within the initial weeks of pregnancy. Excision via surgery is the typical treatment, as the potential for malignancy is high.
It is a rare condition, but not exceedingly rare, and those suffering from it definitely shouldn’t be treated differently by society. There are other possible complications to the condition, such as severe scarring. While scarring isn’t as serious as cancer, it is still a major concern for those afflicted with the condition.
Hopefully, Xiao’s treatment will be as successful as possible, and we obviously wish her and her family all of the best.