Andy Sandness had survived and pulled through that dark time that took place a decade ago. Andy fell into deep depression in his early twenties and had attempted to take his own life. Somehow, he survived the fatal blow, but his face was left disfigured by the wound. Now at 31 years old, he had undergone the most successful face transplant the world has ever seen.
This is one of the last photos of him before the horrific incident that occurred in 2006 which left him unrecognizable.
"I just remember putting one in the chamber and looking down the barrel of the gun and I said 'ah, f#*! it' and pulled the trigger," Said Andy in an interview. He added: "I was going through some rough times, ya know, I mean I made the wrong choices,".
Large portions of his lower face, jaw, teeth, chin and his nose were completely obliterated by the blow.
"The only thing I got to see was him coming out of the emergency room with his head, with gauze wrapped around, with a straw coming out to breathe in," said his father Reed.
He wore a rubber nose that would often fall off and wondered if there could be other options possible for him. There were eventually a few specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota who investigated Andy's case and eventually agreed that he is an appropriate candidate for a face transplant.
"Everybody went into this totally knowing their role, knowing what to expect. Every step has been thought out 1,000 times," said head surgeon Dr. Samir Mardini. The surgery went very well. Take a look at the final result and you will be shocked to see the result.
When you look closely you can tell there's a strange scar circling his under eyes, but otherwise, you wouldn't be able to recognize that he actually had something close to a face transplant!
In a heartwarming moment after the surgery, Andy wrote a note to his doctors saying the surgery "Far exceeded my expectation."
The operation was such a success that for the first time in years, a child ran to Andy in an elevator and did not react negatively to his face. For Andy, having a normal interaction like that meant the world to him. "I knew then, that the surgery was a success," said Andy regarding that moment.
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