I am a beautiful woman and refuse to let nasty trolls make me feel bad about my rare condition
A WOMAN with a rare condition which caused a large growth to develop on her face says she refuses to let nasty trolls get her down.
Lu Dorini, 41, from Mangueirinha, South Brazil, was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) when she was just eight months old.
The disorder is caused by an abnormal tangle of vessels which connect arteries and veins and disrupts blood flow and oxygen circulation.
Due to the heavy blood flow from the artery, the vein becomes enlarged from too much blood.
As a result, Lu, who works as a public accountant, has a large defect on her face.
She has undergone 19 surgeries just to stay alive due to countless haemorrhages in her gum and skin.
The brave woman has also nearly lost her life a number of times due to the rare condition.
But that hasn't stopped her from living life to the absolute fullest and also using social media and a blog to educate people about AVM.
Lu said: "I am a woman with AVM but I don't let it control me.
"I have always studied normally, I've been working since I was 13 and I haven't stopped my routine just because of my disorder.
What are arteriovenous malformations?
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) happen when a group of blood vessels in your body forms incorrectly.
In these malformations, arteries and veins are unusually tangled and form direct connections, bypassing normal tissues.
This usually happens during development before birth or shortly after.
Most people with AVMs have no initial symptoms or problems.
Instead, the problem is discovered when health care providers treat another unrelated health concern.
Sometimes the rupture of one of the blood vessels in an AVM will bring the issue to medical attention.
Most people with AVMs will never have any problems.
If symptoms have not appeared by the time a person is 50, they may never appear.
Women sometimes have symptoms as a result of the burden that pregnancy places on the blood vessels.
Nearly 12 percent of people with AVMs do have some symptoms, however.
No one knows why AVMs form. Some experts believe that the risk of developing AVMs could be genetic.
AVMs can form anywhere in the body. Those that form in the brain or close to the spinal cord, called neurological AVMs, are most likely to have long-term effects.
The biggest concern related to AVMs is that they will cause uncontrolled bleeding, or hemorrhage.
Fewer than four per cent of AVMs haemorrhage, but those that do can have severe, even fatal, effects.
Death as a direct result of an AVM happens in about one per cent of people with AVMs.
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
"In fact, if anything I have evolved more as a person."
She continued: “I have always loved myself just the way I am, ever since childhood.
"I am a beautiful, smart, capable woman and I have never thought I needed to be a different way to be accepted.
"I'm just like everybody else and I deserve love and acceptance. I love myself, I really do love me.”
Speaking about her blog, Lu said: "I created my blog after speaking to a very worried mother whose daughter had hemangioma like me.
"I've connected with people across the world now and also gives lectures on social media in the hope that I can inspire people to be happy and to love themselves and enjoy life."
Lu has also written a book, 'Between Waves of Emotion' to share her own story of AVM "to help people to understand that it is possible to be happy even with an aesthetic difference or a serious health problem."
The Brazillian native regularly shares videos with her 31,900 Instagram followers providing them with daily reflections, about life in general, physiology questions, and focusing on positive psychology, which is her specialisation.
"My videos focus on themes like self-esteem, self-knowledge, character strengths, emotions, and matters of the mind and heart," she said.
“I do all of this for one purpose; to fulfill my mission in the world of sharing my story, and making people smile because I believe that it is possible to change the world if each of us does our part.”
Lu said that while 99 per cent of people send her kind and affectionate comments – even including marriage proposals – she's also been on the receiving end of negative comments.
"Of course, I have received some bad comments because everyone has their own opinion but it doesn't make me less happy.
"When you're putting yourself out there on social media, you need to be prepared for everything, and I must confess that I have previously cried after receiving rude comments or a rude attitude from people.
"But currently, it doesn’t affect me at all, it doesn’t make me happy but it doesn't make me upset either.
"If anything, my self-esteem is high right now – I might even have the highest self-esteem in the world.
“I only respond to those who see my beauty and if you don't think I’m beautiful, then it's your problem and not mine because I’ll continue to think that I’m stunning.”
As for her top tips for self-confidence, Lu said: "Allow yourself to be free, look at yourself with affection, focus on your qualities; like what you see in the mirror and don't blame yourself for any of your failures."
"Believe that you are capable, don't complain about what is not and be thankful for what is, respect yourself and don't compare yourself to others, and most importantly, understand that everyone is unique.
“We are all human beings so don’t waste your time and your life trying to be someone else, or better than others because all you need to do is love yourself and to improve day by day.”
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