LIFE

Mom’s Face Is Swollen Where Doctors Put Balloons Under Skin. Years Later She Looks So Different

by Megan Wrappe
Megan is a writer from North Carolina who loves sports, sees way too many Broadway shows, and loves a good adventure! When she's not writing, you can find her curled up in bed with a Jane Austen book.

When Jennifer Hiles was a baby, she had a little birthmark on her nose. Doctors told her parents it would eventually fade on its own and that they shouldn’t worry about it.

But as she got older, the mark grew and swelled until her entire nose was covered in red blotches. She also started mysteriously bleeding from her nose and gums on a regular basis.

Jennifer and her family went to doctor after doctor and endured a number of procedures. But nothing worked.

Then one night her grandmother was watching TV and saw a story of a woman who described similar symptoms to Jennifer’s. She decided to give Jennifer the doctor’s information, and after she met with him, she finally had a diagnosis for her condition.

She was told she had arterial venous malformation, which can be deadly should the veins rupture. Thankfully though, Jennifer was finally in the hands of people who could help her.

Jennifer’s doctor knew surgery was the only way to fix her condition, so he placed saline-filled balloons under her skin for eight weeks so her skin would expand and could be used for skin grafts after her malformation was removed.

Three months after the surgery, Jennifer was amazed at how different her entire face looked.

“When I first saw my face I was so happy because it was white and AVM free,” Jennifer says in the video below. “I couldn’t believe it was me.”

Jennifer is happy where she is right now, but will need more cosmetic surgery in the future.

“I just hope that all next surgeries go as planned and that the scars fade,” Jennifer says. “And I hope that one day I can walk into a room, and you know, have people see me for me and not just my condition.”

Jennifer will begin having surgeries again in February 2017 in New York City. With the big costs of hotels and traveling from her home in South Dakota, Jennifer has started a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of her travel and hotel bills.

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Warning: This video contains graphic footage of surgery that some viewers may find difficult to view.

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