Nation's first face transplant patient thriving

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Her face was destroyed by a gunshot wound, but doctors at the Cleveland Clinic gave her new life and a new face.

Connie Culp, the first woman in the nation to get a face transplant, talked one-on-one with FOX19's sister station, WOIO.

Not only has Connie Culp survived after a very traumatic and dramatic surgery but she's thriving.

Connie suffered a gun shot to the face, that robbed her of half her features.

"It helps having people around that you really thinks care about you," Face transplant recipient Connie Culp.

Then a team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic performed an incredible transformation, transplanting tissue and organs, basically helping her heal and saving her life.

"I'm doing really good right now."

Doctors say she's been steadily improving gaining muscle function in her face.

"We were here to work with the Cleveland Clinic then there was a perfect donor family that came forward and said I want to help Connie," Gordon Bowen of Life Banc.

Connie says a recent face lift has improved her quality of life.

"I had jowels that hung clear down to here and I had headaches every day. Now I don't have the headaches everyday like I did."

But the rehab process is as hard on her as she is on herself.

"It's still going to take a while, because I'm still weak, I'm not back up to par like I used to be."

But with doctor's help, and commitment to her therapy she's on track to become the face of recovery.

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