Be different and be happy!
Hi there, I’m Suzanne, I’m 29 and live in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
About a week after I was born, an outline appeared on my face around my right eye. This developed into a strawberry haemangioma, which grew and became very heavy, sealing my eye shut. As the mark was over my eye and there was a risk of losing my sight, I had an operation to remove some of the birthmark – but unfortunately my sight could not be saved and I cannot see out of my right eye at all. I then had two further operations to “tidy up” the quarter of my face that was affected by the mark. Like many of us, I suffered times of low self-esteem – during my teens I wore my hair over my face, and even refused to put make-up on my “bad eye”, thinking that if I ignore it everyone else would as well! I also have further birthmarks down the right side of my body, from my bottom to my toes, which made P.E. and swimming at school a real misery. I did try camouflage make-up and laser treatment, but soon gave up – it just wasn’t for me.
With lots of love and support from my family and friends, and a growing self-belief, over the past few years my confidence has grown and grown. I went to University, and even fulfilled my dream to become a dancer, before following a successful career in fashion. I now run my own fashion label, Fashion Junkie, for women sized 10-32, alongside being mummy to baby Olivia Grace. I used to be so nervous of being photographed, but have now appeared in various articles in national newspapers and magazines about my birthmarks – talking about it all has been such a liberating experience, and I hope that reading about me has helped others too.
I wish that the Birthmark Support Group and websites such as ‘Loveyourmark.com’ had been around when I was a child. Having people with similar experiences to talk to would really have helped my parents and I in so many ways. I am just so glad that I am part of the Group now as well as contributing to this website, and look forward to meeting you all and sharing stories!