Monday, February 1, 2010


The medical shows about conjoined twins, parasitic twins, people with giant tumors or facial deformities, men whose skin resembles tree bark--Fio watches them all. It's the "before" and "after" aspects that fascinate her. They tell her there's still hope in the world--miracles even.

Last night she caught up on Julianna, "Born without a Face." It's Treacher-Collins to the extreme: one displaced eye, stubs for ears, no nose, and a gaping mouth where her lower face should have been.

Five years and twenty-nine surgeries later, Juliana's face has made a lot of progress: two eyes now, a nose, some work on her skull. Last night the surgeon tried a skin graft to give her a cheek, but it didn't work.

Juliana doesn't like the surgeries so her parents are thinking of calling it quits. The kindergarten kids accept her as she is, her mother reports. And obviously her family loves her.

But I vote for continuing the surgeries, doing everything possible to give Julianna a better face while she is still young enough to heal well. As she gets older, her peers will be less accepting of her appearance. And her family will not always be with her. Besides, eventually she'll want to be independent, to react to the world on her own terms.

Mom and Dad, let her put her best face forward.

Let the miracles happen.

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