Keith and I (Jennica) have three fantastic kids: Adelaide (born 2008), Clarence (2010), and Eloise (2011). Adelaide was born with a port wine stain on the right side of her face, which looked like a big, red-wine-colored map of China masking half her face. The port wine stain is basically a proliferation of blood vessels that grows with her. If left untreated, the mass of blood vessels would continue to grow thicker and darker, eventually getting nodular and interfering with functions like eyesight.
Luckily, treatment is available in the form of regular laser surgeries at Children’s Hospital. After her birth, the dermatologist originally estimated that she would need between 12 and 20 surgeries, but her stain is turning out to be more resistant than anticipated. We’re well past 30-some treatments and still going a few times a year. Every time she grows, the blood vessels beneath the skin grow, too; it’s a constant weed-whacking battle.
Due to the effective treatments and our awesome surgeon, the stain has (in Keith’s words) faded “from grape jelly to strawberry jam.” Quite frankly, it’s a lovely shade of pink now, especially in sunlight! However, each treatment bruises the blood vessels beneath the surface for about a week, usually in a grid pattern, turning the stain a mottled dark purple – that’s usually when people ask about it.
Eventually, the treatments will kill enough blood vessels to clear the stain from her face, but we don’t know how much longer, or how many more surgeries, that will take. Then, we can do intermittent ‘maintenance’ treatments just to make sure the weeds don’t grow back.
In the meantime, our concern is raising a confident girl in today’s world who loves herself, loves her beauty, loves people, and shows grace and gratitude even when people are less than perfect toward her. Please feel free to leave your comments, experience, & insight!