WEIRD NEWS
10/17/2012 01:48 pm ET

Savipat Kemkajit Chotpintu's Tumor Eats Away At Her Eye Socket In TLC's 'My Giant Facial Tumor'

Savipat Kemkajit Chotpintu, a native of Thailand, has a lot of heart and courage.

Sadly, the first thing people notice about her is the giant facial tumor she's had since she was a young girl.

The tumor on the 29-year-old's face is so large that it has obstructed the left side of her face and left a large hole in the frontal lobe, exposing part of her brain.

It's even eaten away sections of her left ear, cheek and jaw.

Help may be on the way, in the form of Chicago-based doctor McKay McKinnon, who specializes in treating patients like Chotpintu, who have large tumors.

Her story, as well as that of Ed Port, an Ohio man suffering a similar problem, are featured in "My Giant Facial Tumor," a TLC special debuting Oct. 17.

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Dr. McKinnon says the case of Chotpintu -- who is known to friends and family as "Aum" -- is extreme.

"The tumor has destroyed virtually all of the eye socket, which normally separates it from the brain," he said. "So the brain is acting as a pulsating force against the eye socket. I can touch the cover of [her] brain when I put my finger there."

McKinnon said the biggest challenge of operating on Chotpintu will be trying to take off all the tumor and reassemble half of the face.

"It's not a small task," he said. "It's a large, complex task."

Part of the problem is that the tumor is so big that the skin is actually getting some of its blood supply from it, which could present a problem later on. In addition, McKinnon will be required to manipulate the brain during surgery and one wrong move could end her life.

Chotpintu is admittedly worried.

"Right now, I'm a little scared," she said. "But just a little."

She says her mother in Thailand is the one who is really concerned over the surgery's risks. Chotpintu herself just tries to be optimistic.

"I just want to know what tomorrow brings," she said. "I wonder how I'll feel. What will have changed?"

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