The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation

Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

My name is Melissa A. Freeman. I am 36 yrs. Old. I have a Venous Vascular Malformation on the right side of my face. This has been with me all of my life; however, it did not really start showing up until I was about 2 or 3 years old.

Skip ahead to 1987. This is the year I met Dr. Alex Berenstein thanks to God and a friend of mine who was a doctor at the time in NYC. His name was Dr. Sam Gandy. I had a sclerotherapy treatment then when Dr. B was at NYU Medical Center. The first procedure went well, but they were not able to get everything. About 10 yrs later, I found myself in Charleston, SC at MUSC for embolizations. I made about 4 trips down there, but the procedures did not seem to do the trick. Last year, I returned to Charleston to have a tooth looked at in a hospital setting. It was determined that the tooth could not safely be removed until the vascular malformation was addressed first. Dr. Turk referred me back to NYC to Dr. Alex Berenstein.

Melissa, afterIn late October, I traveled up to NYC to have the first of several sclerotherapy procedures at St. Lukes-Roosevelt under the supervision of Dr. Alex Berenstein. I returned in February to have a second treatment. On March 24th, I had my last sclerotherapy session with Dr. Berenstein and on the 26th, and Dr. Milton Waner did a debulking process. I am now at home and recovering from those two surgical procedures. In about three or four months, after I heal completely, I will make another trip to NYC and undergo reconstructional surgery under Dr. Gregory Levitin’s care. I thank God for these doctors and their team. I truly believe He used them as His instruments in His great plan for me. I do not know what that plan is yet, but I trust the Lord with all of my heart, and because I do, I know I do not have to fear the surgery that lies ahead.

I am attaching a few photos, but if you would like to see more, please visit my page on Facebook. Just add me as friend so that you can see the pictures. If I get a chance, I am going to try to scan some pictures of me when I was younger and post them on Facebook also.

I would like to become involved with the VBF in some way. If I can help in any way, please let me know. I am right now in the process of thinking about doing a fundraiser for this wonderful foundation. Due to my personal relationship with God, I feel He should receive all of the glory for this miracle and blessing that is taking place not only in my life but in the lives of my family, friends, and others who also have vascular malformations, hemangiomas, and other various abnormalities that can make one’s life difficult at times. These things not only affect the patient, every person or doctor that deals with the patient is also affected in one way or another.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Melissa A. Freeman