Ana's parents moved from Mexico to the United States to get better care for their daughter. Throughout her childhood, Ana had multiple surgeries to remove the tumor in her face. "After every surgery, the tumor would grow back," she says. "It really broke my heart, even until I just lost faith in the doctors and didn't want to continue the process."

At 14, Ana noticed her tumors were growing more rapidly. "To some extent, I didn't want to go to school because I was just real insecure about how people would treat me," she says.

After graduation, Ana enrolled in a local college but didn't complete her coursework. "They offered me disabled services," she says. "I got offended because I didn't think I needed it."

With many of her longtime friends away at school, Ana says she began to feel alone and depressed. "For the next two to three years, I just pretty much secluded myself from people," she says. "I did try to get a job, but I thought I was discriminated because of how I looked. I would leave my house maybe once a month."


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