Friday, March 1, 2013

Ren's "Beauty Mark" (and Why We Chose to Remove It)

10 months old

After this past Wednesday's post, someone remarked to me they had forgotten that Ren once had a birthmark on her face.  We are not particularly easy to offend and questions and comments about this have never bothered us.  Well, let me qualify that just a bit...when Ren was a baby John was fine with comments and/or questions by friends and acquaintances, but he was extremely...sensitive, shall we say, when it came to stares or too many questions from strangers.  He got quite angry once when someone in a store asked him in an accusing tone if he had "burned that baby".

As you can see in the above picture, Ren had a congenital pigmented nevus on the right side of her face.  When she was born it was actually reddish in color and the doctors thought it was likely a portwine stain.  Soon, though, clearly turning dark brown, we were told it would possibly become what is called a "hairy nevus".  It did.

Looking straight at Ren you wouldn't know she had a birthmark. 

Birthmarks are very common. Most of us have at least one somewhere on our body and never think twice about it. Having a large one on your face is another story. Our reasoning was very can be cruel and school/life is hard enough without supplying people with added ammunition. So, over the course of a little less than two years and three surgeries, we chose to have Ren's removed.

Luckily, in the years before her surgeries Ren was not the least bit bothered by her birthmark. On the first day of kindergarten she was asked by another little boy in the class if she had chocolate milk on her face and she proudly told him that it was, in fact, her "beauty mark." It was good to know that Ren was self-confident but, again, kids can be cruel (even when they don't mean to be) and John and I saw no need to have hers needlessly tested over and over again.

After the frst surgery. 
It would take two more to completely remove it.

We were able to select Dr. George Yarbro, a plastic surgeon out of Nashville who had privileges at our local hospital.  He was just fabulous!  He was so gentle and kind and Ren loved him.  Going in, John and I thought it would only require one surgery but Dr. Yarbro told us if he took too much at one time the scar would be worse than the birthmark.  So, three it was.

After the second surgery.  Eating the prerequisite popsicle.

Her first surgery began shortly after she started kindergarten and the third one was done during the first grade.

You can see just a bit of her scar in this pic.

And, if you look hard enough, you might see it in this one.  Or you might not.

Today, if she is wearing no makeup and has her hair pulled back in a ponytail, you can see a faint line down the right side of her face, which is more easily visible after she's worked out and is hot and sweaty.  Every now and then someone will ask her about it.  Ever a drama queen an actress, her two favorite go-to stories are as follows:

1.  Once, she and her best friend Lexie C. got into this huge fight and Lexie took a knife and slashed her.


2.  (after pretending for a moment that it conjures up bad memories and she would rather not talk about it) She and I were shopping at Wal-Mart once when she was little and this crazy person (just like those you sometimes see on attacked us. 

She assures me she always comes clean and tells them the truth...

...but only after seeing them get really remorseful for "bringing up such painful memories."

Have a great weekend!  It's cold and cloudy here and we may get snow...which figures...seeing as how it's the weekend. 


Lyndy said...

The stories she tells people when they ask - hilarious! What a character! Cool chic!

Tire Swing Mom said...

When she told me the story she told a couple freshmen football players who asked (the one about being attacked at Wal-mart) I asked, "You did tell them the truth, didn't you?" She said, "Yeah, eventually." :)