My name is Andrew Jenkins and I've had a port wine stain on my
right cheek since I was born. It was looked at regularly until I
was nine-years-old by a plastic surgeon at Gloucester Royal
Hospital called Clive Reid. He intended to do a skin graft on my
birthmark but decided against it because of the position, and we
decided to but my name forward for laser treatment - if any local
hospitals obtained a laser machine, I would be placed on the list
to be seen.
In November 1992, I received a letter from a Mr J M Kenealy at
Bristol's Frenchay Hospital offering me laser treatment and giving
me a summary of what would happen. I had a test patch done on my
left arm and having no adverse reactions, we decided to go ahead
with the treatment. The laser heats up the blood vessels which are
close to the skin and causes them to shut themselves down and
create new ones deeper in the skin.
I have now been going to the laser centre for over 12 years.
Each treatment can last up to an hour and I go back every eight -
ten weeks. A clinical research fellow asks me if there was any
scaring or scabbing after the last treatment before going ahead
with the next treatment. The treatment involves about 10-15 blasts
of the laser every 30 seconds and a cooling gel is applied
They now have a new laser machine which can penetrate deeper in
to the skin than the previous one and I will be one of the first
patients to be treated with it. The previous laser machines have
left me with hypo-pigmentation - a lightening of the skin cells -
so I have to wait a year for the skin cells to repair themselves
before any more treatment can be done.
I now only have a small area of my birthmark left, and hopefully
all or most of it will be removed within the next few years. This
is why I'm not worried about the bit near my eye - it can be left
as a memento of the pain and suffering that I had to go through.
Hopefully I'll be able to go out and not have strangers stare at me
or tease me.
I feel much better in myself and I have more confidence in
myself to do and try new and exciting things.
The photo's, show the progress of my treatment from the
start of my treatment in 1992 to the last treatment on