Her daughter was born with a small blister, a hemangioma, on her lower lip that grew larger as the girl got older. Visits to doctors proved fruitless as each indicated that there was nothing that could be done and told her it would fade on its own.
One doctor indicated that if steroids had been used on the hemangioma when the daughter was younger, it might have stopped the blister’s growth.
Devastated and full of guilt that her delay in treatment had doomed her daughter to a future with a disfigured lip, she swore to herself and God that if she could find someone to fix the deformity, she would devote herself to keeping the same experience from happening to other children and parents.
A doctor did appear and grant her prayer. Dr. Milton Waner performed a special surgery to remove the lip hemangioma, which by this time had become larger than a golf ball on the 18 month old’s lip. Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon made good on her promise and started the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation which is available to link the 40,000 patients who are born each ear with vascular related birth defects to knowledgeable doctors, written resources and a supportive discussion forum. The website acts to guide others who will do anything to help themselves or their children regain the self confidence and self esteem lost from years of cruel, thoughtless statements from others.
What is a hemangioma?
A hemangioma is an excess growth of blood vessels, usually veins and capillaries, and tissue. They can occur anywhere on the body, though facial hemangiomas occur 30% of the time. Hemangiomas are classified as superficial (strawberry hemangiomas), combined or deep (cavernous hemangiomas). They are more common in females, white infants and those babies born prematurely. Over 90% of hemangiomas resolve (called involution) by the time a child is nine years old but for those that do not or are creating other risks, there are interventions that may help.
Facial hemangiomas are a source of concern for parents due to their appearance and because of the psycho-social strain children experience.