Ryan Longood is back home from Arkansas where doctors performed surgery to reshape his face.
The 14-year-old travels far for care because few doctors understand his condition — a rare disease that causes arteries and veins to tangle and bleed, leaving Ryan disfigured, with life-threatening complications.
Ryan is just a couple weeks out of surgery, still healing but doing great.
His right eye is still swollen and irritated after a complicated but successful operation that took seven hours at UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock.
He can wear sunglasses now.
"Before, my eye was out and it would bump on the lens of the sunglass and that was really annoying and I couldn't ever wear them," said Longood. "They made an incision here. They shaved down all this bone so my eye can go back and hopefully drop down as well."
Ryan has arteriovenus malformation (AVM). His inspiring story to raise awareness on NBC12 back in April resonated with our viewers.
"Everybody was very proud of him and is proud of him for having the courage to do that," said Ryan's mother, Monica Longood. "It takes a lot to expose yourself on camera for every to see you at your worst."
Ryan became a star in Little Rock. After his TV debut appearance in Richmond, KARK 4 covered the surgery.
But the stunning moment came when Ryan looked up and saw President Bill Clinton walking out of his doctor's office.
Turns out the two share the same doctor, UAMS head and neck surgeon Dr. James Suen.
The two hugged and posed for several pictures.
"I was completely shocked. I did not expect, of all people, President Clinton to come through that door. It didn't hit me until after that encounter, the magnitude hit me. I probably won't ever forget that moment because something like that won't ever happen to me again," said Ryan.
Ryan seems to handle stardom well and is now concentrating on healing which will take several months.
"I'm starting high school, that's a big transition. I'm excited about that. I also want to see how my eye goes down. The swelling as it slowly goes down. Now it's going to look a lot better but, how much better."
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