“Ugliness is a kind of beauty which hides a lot of pain”

Shubhanshu Tiwari

There is no ugliness on this world because the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The beauty without character is pure ugliness and the character turns any ugliness into the pure beauty. The superficial categorizations are only available to the empty people and their judgments. However, there are some medical deformities what make certain human beings suffer more than others and they are usually defined us weird diseases or hard defects which could be a real nightmare for targeted patients.


The facial deformities are definitely the hardest because they are hitting not only our immune system but mainly our physical look and our sense for esthetic. In the age of forced beauty industry and aggressive trend of being beautiful and attractive, the serious defects what attack our faces seem like the worst punishments. The person who is dealing with this type of medical problem is not only the patient but the monster for the rest of the society, used on the glorified beauty symbols.  The people who are suffering from facial tumors are usually those people who are wearing the sign of social stigma, the condemn of community with no reason, like they are responsible themselves  for the fact that the disease picked them. The pain they are feeling  from within is not only one caused by deformity but one which is caused mainly by human’s lack of understanding and compassion. This sad world will forgive the murders and terrorism but will never forgive the ugliness they believe they see.


The facial deformities particularly come from the tumor or neoplasm and only sometimes the reason could be found in congenital backgrounds:”Tumor means ‘swelling’ in Latin. Tumor or neoplasm are abnormal growth of mass tissue and cell growth that could be cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous(benign), and most of these abnormal growth of tumors causes deformities especially when the tumor attacks facial tissues.” The tumor of this kind often hits the patient in early age but many of them don’t pay attention or they do not have medical conditions or financial base to settle this problem on time. So, the tumor gets bigger and bigger and the chance that patient will have a normal and safe removal of its less and less. The assessment of the tumor’s type  must be given on time and must be correct, otherwise it is just a waste of time and energy for patients. We can make differences between Cystic Hygromas, Dermoid Cysts,Fibrous Dysplasia and Neurofibromatosis. The skin cancer can also cause the tumor growth on the face,  head or neck. Cystic Hygromas starts as a bulge below the skin’s surface and then becomes the visible lump.Dermoid Cysts is almost always benign but can cause the alarming problem on skin tissue, hair or teeth. Fibrous Dysplasia covers the bony tumors anywhere on the human skeleton. Neurofibromatosis is usually one which causes the main problem to the people because it evolves from the birthmarks and becomes dangerous overgrowth, which removal is risky.


The stories about the different patients and their different problems are merged into one story about the unspoken human’s pain of being disfigured and marked as unwanted in the society and non-loved by people around.Each of them is facing with the unmeasured soul’s pain and if we can see their eyes, usually hidden behind the tumor, we would clearly see how much they suffer, alone in the darkness of their misery.

When media report about those people, they often make sick advertizing of the clinics what could eventually help but the real suffering and agony stays unveiled. Nevertheless, there are some names which are signed forever in the book of mankind, as heroes who have never given up on hoping for a new life or who died waiting for it.

Jose Mestre is famous as a man “whose face is eaten by tumors”. As an Portugese with religious loyalty to Jehovah’s Witness, he refused medical treatment of his problem because it would mean the necessity for blood transfusion which is forbidden in his religion. His type of facial tumor is one of the most extreme in the medical history because ” the tumour has taken over his mouth and tongue, ballooning his lips, twisting his gums and breaking his teeth off. The deep, 15cm long growth – which started as a birth mark when he was just 11 – was sparked by abnormalities in his capillaries and veins. It started to get much bigger when he hit 16 and has been expanding ever since.” He was under removal  surgery by  Dr. Mckay Mckinnon, at Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago in 2010 and after many additional operations, he seems to have some kind of life back.


The Chinese man, Huang Chuncai suffers from Neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic disorder that causes facial deformities so he ended up with 23 kg  tumor on his face and he must have had 3 operations of removal with high alert of risk. Gao An Ni is 8-year-old girl from China too who is dealing with a tumor in her underlip.

The young girl from Vietnam, Lai Ti Dao suffers from a massive Schwannoma tumor which has attacked her tongue and then the rest of the face. The team at the University of  Miami has tried to remove the tumor and to save the girl’s life.

 Then, there is  Marile Casseus:”the 14 year-old Haitian girl, was suffering from a rare disease known as Polyostotic Fibrous Dysplasia otherwise known as Albright disease or McCune-Albright syndrome, is a form of fibrous dysplasia (thinning of bone and growth of lesions affecting one or more bones leading to weakening of bones forming scars within the bones. Marile Casseus underwent a 14 hours surgery procedure to remove the 16 pounds tumor causing her facial deformity.”


Kevin Armstrong suffers from Solumoristosis (butt face) what caused that this 12-year-old boy has totally deformed face.


There are so many of those who suffer from the variety of facial disfigurations and each of them have different visual shape. Sometimes, the patients can live with no problems but with the big and overwhelming esthetical pressure and often their lives are  endangered  by the tumor’s overgrowth. The medicine is trying its best to help the people in suffer but these surgeries are usually very expensive and public health budget doesn’t help unless we are talking about fundraising or global humanitarian actions. The lack of experts in the reconstructive and plastic surgery and the lack of good equipments, especially in the third world countries,make the life of the targeted patients as a tragedy with no end.

One of the doctors whose name will shine in the international medicine and absolutely the biggest humanitarian in the surgery field is American doctor  McKay McKinnon, known as an expert for plastic and reconstructive surgery and one who is defeating the hardest facial deformities found in human beings.Beside his position as Clinical Assistant Professor, Section of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at University of Chicago,  he and his wife is collaborating with the hospitals in Vietnam and Thailand and he is often there offering his help with no charge. His consultations are bringing the hope to the patients who are waiting for him like for a God’s sign and he believes he must help:”I’m a doctor. My feelings are there but my instinct to analyze the problems and see whether I can help it or not. I feel sorry for the patients because they suffer so much. I’m a doctor so I’m here not to have feeling but to help them”.  He is a prominent expert in this field and his surgery often last from 6 to 12 hours but is known as a “doctor with golden hands” especially in Asian cultures but some of his colleagues say he listens music for better concentration:“McKinnon has long been known as one of the best surgeons for complex tumor cases thought impossible to perform by colleagues around the world. His best known cases include Lori Hoogewind, an American woman with a 90.7-kilogram tumor or Lucica Bunghez, from Romania, who had an 80-kilogram one, and the most recent is Nguyen Duy Hai in Vietnam with a 90kg tumor on his leg.” The tall and humble, doctor McKinnon radiates only pure professionalism and contagious optimism which helps more than anything else to those who are forgotten. He never promises but he always make them believe that life on the sunshine is still possible.


The doctors like him are those who make the world goes round and make us being confident that mankind hasn’t lost all of its humanity. The great people are those who make others feel better, feel alive and feel loved. They give them a  new life.


  1. One of my heroes is Joseph Merrick (1862-1890): commonly, referred to as ‘The Elephant Man’. He possessed a very beautiful mind and he proved that perceptions are dictated to by the prejudices of people (i.e. those among us who do not see a fellow human being but someone with physiological deformities that deem them inferior). I was ten-years old when I first saw the film The Elephant Man (1980), and I felt deeply without really understanding the empathy and connection, psychologically and emotionally. Humans are far to quick to prejudge one another; especially, those with extreme adversities in life (e.g. individuals with parotid gland deformity).

    Marimar Quiroa was born with a facial tumour called cystic hygroma. She is 21 and lives in California. The facial tumour that leaves her unable to speak or eat takes YouTube by storm with her beauty tutorials, by using sign language. Her spirit reminds me of Joseph Merrick.

    Sarah’s article is extremely important and should be given far more attention than our daily doses of warfare and terrorism in newspapers and television news, etc. Thank you Sarah for your dedication to what needs to be acknowledged, discussed and comprehended, openly and consistently…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Sarah, for this informative article. I have learned a lot from it, and definitely did not know that a facial tumor could weigh as much as 90 kg.

    Our world needs more compassion and more people like Dr. McKinnon. Doctors should be compassionate people, should love their work, and should not be in that field for the sole purpose of making money.

    More money needs to be poured into research to find more and better solutions, and a cure without the need for surgery. Sadly, the world is more interested in investing in nuclear weapons that kill people than in research that saves people! The human paradox!

    All is not lost thanks to benevolents like Dr. McKinnon. We all salute him and thank him for his good deeds. Hopefully, more people will follow his lead.

    Thank you again for this enlightening article.

    Liked by 1 person

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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !