VIRGINIA BEACH -- A 15-year-old Haitian girl who underwent a 12-hour surgery at CHKD last month to remove a four-pound facial tumor is beginning to open up and says she is happy.
Through the generosity of worldwide sponsors, Hennglise Dorvial and her mother Yvrose traveled from Haiti to seek treatment for a tumor pressing on the teenagers brain, pushing her left eye so far up and out that it had lost function. It had expanded from the size of a pea to the size of two grapefruits.
Operation Smile patient from Haiti undergoes 12-hour surgery at CHKD
In the days leading up to the procedure, Hennglise said she wasn't nervous about surgery. Rather, she was excited to see what she would look like.
“I want to look in the mirror and see I’m not the same,” she said quietly.
Now, Hennglise says she feels happy.
"My face is smaller. My mouth is different, but in a good way. I understand it will get better with time," she said.
Her mother, Yvrose, thinks her daughter looks good and is getting better every day. She said their relationship has changed since the surgery.
"I am more comfortable around Hennglise. The largeness of her face made me and others uncomfortable. Before the operation Hennglise was scared to go out and socialize – but not anymore," Yvrose said.
Operation Smile CEO and Co-Founder Dr. William Magee, along with two other Hampton Roads-based surgeons, performed the operation last month and will perform another surgery on her jaw in the coming months.
In the meantime, Hennglise and her mother will remain in the U.S.
"This is a tribute to the environments that she is now been exposed to with caring loving individuals taking care of her. She can instinctually understand that our community cares about her. Thank God we live where we live and work with the people that we do," Dr. Magee said. "The beauty and what we have seen already is that this shy and retrusive young lady is now beginning to communicate and engage with individuals."