It's been 14 years since the incident, and that's how long Tanya's been wearing an eye patch such as this one. Once a victim of domestic violence, today Tanya stands strong with her page "Healing Hearts of Domestic Violence."
I first me Tanya over a year ago at my day job when I made her an acrylic eye for an orbital prosthesis. She had already undergone numerous reconstructive surgeries and was working with a maxillofacial prosthodontist on the orbital piece.
Unfortunately, the maxillofacial prosthodontist passed away, and that's how we met again.
When the bandage came off, it revealed a heartbreaking sight. The eyebrows and eyelids sunken due to the lack of orbital contents and bone structure, a flattened nose, and a large exposed opening into the sinus. She had reached the end of her surgical reconstruction process and opted to continue treatment with a prosthesis.
Throughout our appointments, Tanya continued to take photos for her website. She is documenting the process for her audience to see. In the future, Tanya wants to go back to school and become a counselor to help other survivors of domestic violence. She said, "I'm doing really well today, thanks to my mom. After the domestic abuse incident, I was depressed and got into drugs for a long time...But I'm clean now. I had to put my kids into foster care because I was afraid for them. I hope one day they will look for me. By the way, when are you writing a book? I want to share my story."
Tanya showed me a picture of herself before the incident. "This is what I used to look like...My face changed so much, even the parts not covered by the eye patch."
"You're still beautiful," I said.
"Guess what?" She replied coyly, "I think so too."
Story told with permission from Tanya. Photo and video courtesy of Healing Hearts of Domestic Violence.