September 11,1997 I was viciously attacked by 2 Pitt bulls. I was lucky to survive and have made an amazing life for myself. But I have always lived with the scars. I lost over half of my scalp which was replaced with a skin graft from my thigh. I have had continued issues with the skin graft including daily headaches. I have no feeling oh the very top of my head and because the graft is so thin I often have open sores on my head. The smallest bump of my head on nearly anything can cause a sore. I can only wear wigs for a short time before the pressure causes a sore so I mostly wear scarves. Over the past 8 years I have struggled with infections, which have taken me to a wound clinic on two occasions. The last time I was at the wound clinic it was suggested I have an evaluation with a plastic surgeon. I have had multiple surgeries over the years, but I never had any options for my head. I really felt I was just going to have to live with the skin graft and issues for the rest of my life. The surgeon I saw took biopsies of the ulcers and she very looked at me for a long time before saying you know you don’t have to live like this. I instantly started to cry. I’d never been offered options before. She reached out to several plastic surgeons that she knew and only one would see me for evaluation and he was in Wisconsin. My first visit to UW Madison was on 2017. At that time the doctor took several pictures of my head and said he would present my case to his colleagues. A few months later I returned to see him and he had a plan. This visit was not only with him but a plastic surgeon with training in cranial facial surgeries. They explained the plan. I was going to have 4-5 skin expanders placed under the hair growing portion of my scalp and my forehead and that skin would be stretched over a few months. I was familiar with this process because I had this same type of surgery on my arm when I was 17. I also had a skin graft on my upper left arm because I lost over half my biceps and part of my triceps during the dog attack. I knew how long it would take and how uncomfortable the process was. But having 1 expanded in my arm was going to pale in comparison to having 4-5 in my head. I was nervous about the process but I scheduled surgery September 12, 2018. This was going to be the day. I thought I was ready, but a move and changing circumstances in my life postponed the surgery. I was devised. But I still knew I had options. October 15,2019 is the date of my first expansion surgery. The doctors have made me vary aware that I may undergo 2 to 4 surgeries over the next year. But In the next year I’m going to have the skin graft covering my head and replace it with my own growing hair. I am very excited to take this step, but the cost of the surgery and time away from work has delayed this process for far to long already.
I am not one to typically ask for help of any kind. That being said I’m very humbled creating this go fund me. If you’re able your generosity is very appreciated.
- Sandy Cohen
- Alice Haefke
- Ellen Taft
- Tom and Lisa Elmhorst
- Tammie Felix-Frye
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