A woman from Guizhou, China, was born with a birthmark on her face, but last year when it started hurting, doctors were alarmed, fearing it might become cancerous.
The birthmark covers half of Xiao Yan’s face. The huge mole is known as melanocytic nevus.
In an attempt to remove the birthmark, the 23-year-old woman had four balloons implanted beneath her skin.
Such birthmarks can develop into melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
The doctors inserted the balloons in an attempt to grow extra skin that would cover the wound once the mole was removed. The doctors injected saline in the balloons twice a week, expanding them. The balloons are inserted in four areas of her skin.
"During the first month of treatment, my face hurt so much because of the egg-sized expanders and the saline injections that I wanted to slam my face into a wall," Xiao said.
The treatment that started last year will go on for months, before she can finally have her new mole-free face.
Growing up with this huge birthmark wasn’t easy for the young woman. However, she braved all impediments.
"Despite the big black mole on my face, I enjoyed my childhood playing with my friends," she said. "I was carefree.
"But as I grew older, the fact that I was ‘different’ became increasingly magnified."
Yang Xiu'e, Xiao’s mother explained she had to plead and beg the villagers to stop making fun of her daughter, who had become the talk of the town, because of her birthmark.
Some people even termed Xiao "Gourd Doll" because the balloons on her face made her face resemble the shape of gourd fruits.
But that didn’t kill Xiao’s strong spirit.
“I used to feel sorry for myself,” she admitted, saying, “But I've grown up under the support of my family and now I'm much more positive.”
Xiao’s family is poor and had to go through lot of trouble to afford her treatment.
Nevertheless, the strong family has always backed Xiao. Last year, the family has managed to raise 100,000 yuan ($15,800) for the first stage of her treatment. And so far, Xiao’s twin brother was able to raise about 50,000 yuan ($7,900) for her follow-up surgeries.