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November 9th, 2012
09:43 AM ET

Healing wounds, one tattoo at a time

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. Basma Hameed was severely burned as a toddler and lived with visible scars for a long time.  Then she found tattoos and a way to help others overcome their pain. 

After 16 years of constant surgeries and pain, nothing can compare to the pain of people's stares and comments.  Imagine going through so many surgeries, then meeting someone and the first thing they say is: "What happened to your face? Have you tried surgery?"

People could not accept my scars and the main reason was because I had not accepted them myself.  I couldn't accept that this accident did happen to me and this is my face forever.

I was in denial for so many years. I would lock myself in my bedroom and did not want to go outside because I was not comfortable with everyone's reactions.

I did not have anyone I could relate to growing up, and I did not look like what the media portrays as "beautiful."  I believed that if  you didn't look a certain way, then you could not be accepted and were not "normal." FULL POST


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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