Jul 31, 2009
Ana Rodarte was born with neurofibromatosis, which caused tumors to cover half her face. She was in her twenties when a team of doctors led by plastic surgeon Munish Batra performed a series of operations that transformed her life. A journalist followed the process and wrote about how Rodarte’s affliction shaped her world. Her email correspondence is included.
“i don’t want kids no, the risk is too high for me to have them be born with the same condition. . . . i wouldn’t want them having to experience what i did, and i cannot work, no one will hire me so i gave up on that, and i don’t plan on ever getting married, i don’t believe in it.”
Of course she claimed she didn’t care. “Not all dreams come true,” she wrote once, sounding more resigned than bitter.
In time I interpreted her rationalizations as a measure of how vulnerable she was to the truth: that she would never be married, never gaze upon her own child or be anything less than dependent on others for her livelihood, and all because of her face. I wondered if someday she would prove me wrong.