Ana Rodarte was born with a severe case of neurofibromatosis. The symptoms of the disease can be as benign as a birthmark, but for Ana they manifested as large, lumpy tumors on her face. Her condition worsened as the years passed.
Several operations when Ana was a child brought no improvement and her family gave up on finding help from doctors. During adolescence, Ana’s tumors grew faster than ever and she began to avoid going out in public.
This audio slideshow by the LA Times follows Ana after she is connected with a charitable organization that provides surgical procedures to people in need. Two surgeons mapped out a course of several surgeries to help minimize Ana’s disfigurement.
The slideshow includes interviews with Ana, her father and a surgeon who says his goal isn’t to make her look normal, but to help her accept herself as normal.
CHANNEL: Los Angeles Times
Photography and Audio by Allen J. Schaben
Produced by Marc Martin
Translation by Paloma Esquivel