In February 2006, Los Angeles Times staff writer Thomas Curwen and Ana Rodarte began e-mailing each another on a regular basis. Here is a sampling of their correspondence.

Feb. 3, 2006

Curwen: I wonder if I could ask you to try to put into words what being different has meant to you as you've grown up.

Ana: I suppose its the fact that people are used to not seeing people that are different, such as my condition or any other, my point of view is that maybe they should take the time to be in said persons shoes. Perhaps I don't have it as bad as I think I do, I'm sure someone out there has it far worse than I do, but since society is used to labeling people as one way and there are many out there that don't fit the "norm" then people feel the need to judge.

The only thing that frustrates me is people that feel they need to laugh pretty much in front of me, as if i don't see it, I would say children frustrate me more, but truthfully i have seen adults act far worse than children, but i don't really say much, I shrug it off, there is no need to lower myself and defend myself.

Feb. 13, 2006

Curwen: Do you want to have children someday? Are you afraid?

Ana: Yeah but its best to forget about wanting kids, i dont have a choice really and i dont want to raise kids that arent mine.

Feb. 16, 2006

Curwen: Do you have a memory of what your face looked like before the tumors grew? How did you feel growing up and seeing your face change?

Ana: I have always had the tumors so i dont know what id look like without them, which is why i really dont get my hopes up till i can see some improvement of some sort.

I grew up looking different than the other kids thats as much as i remember, and thinking it would be cool to look like them, but i know i wont ever have that. i grew up going to hospitals thats as much of the help i was going to get, and i decided to stop going because i saw it getting worse more than it was getting better, adjusting to things was a bit difficult but i learned to not care much about it.

Sept. 19, 2006

Curwen: If you were to write your own story, what would the first five sentences be?

Ana: I dont know. never thought of that. maybe something like: Somewhere between the crayons and the glue, the swings, and the milk boxes, i came to the realization, i was different from the other kids in my class.

Sept. 28, 2006

Ana: where are you! i have stuff to share! Dont make me run to Los Angeles to tell you!

Curwen: I'm here. I'm waiting. I'm eager to know more.....

Ana: We went to the La Jolla cove and we went inside a cave called Sunny Jim Cave. Man that cave was creepy, i mean the closer you got to the water, the more it trembled. I started to get scared and all. Because of my fear of big bodies of water, but wow, to be that close to the waves.