Five years ago, Connie Culp’s life was destroyed. Her husband shot her in the face and then turned the gun on himself. She was horribly disfigured. She didn’t even have a nose anymore.
This week she unveiled her new face. The surgery took place place in December of 2008. She had surgery 30 times. The surgeons tried all sorts of things to no avail. Then in December an opportunity arose for a face transplant. There was considerable risk since the surgery had only been performed three other times and none in the US. But Culp took her chances.
The operation took 22 hours. The surgeons worked on muscles, nerves, bones…they replaced 80% of her face.
The entire cost of the surgery is around $300,000 but will be paid by the facility where the procedure was performed.
Right now, her face is bloated and oddly shaped, but there is more work to be done. As the nerves kick into gear, surgeons will remove excess skin. Slowly but surely, her new face will begin to look normal.
Culp is ecstatic about her new lease on life. Things we take for granted like smelling have been out of reach for her for five years.
Though Culp’s ordeal will soon be over, she knows the emotional trauma of not looking like everyone else. She offered these these words of wisdom to the nation, “When somebody has a disfigurement and don’t look as pretty as you do, don’t judge them, because you never know what happened to them,” she said. “Don’t judge people who don’t look the same as you do. Because you never know. One day it might be all taken away.”