Tina woke up early one morning to the smell of cigarette smoke. She walked into her living room and saw her ex-husband, Matthew, holding a gun.
The couple had gotten married when she was 16 and had two children, but they had divorced after he became increasingly controlling. The two had remained cordial in the months after the divorce, but Matthew had begun threatening Tina that she’d never see her kids again.
Her friends and family were scared for her life, and her brother recently had given her a gun.
When Tina confronted Matthew in her living room and asked why he was doing this, he hit her with the butt of his gun.
“I said, ‘Matthew, are you going to kill me here?'" Tina recalls. "He said, ‘No, nobody will find us for awhile.’” I said, 'So you’re going to kill yourself, too.' He said, 'Yes.’”
Tina knew she had to get to the gun that was stashed in her dresser drawer and asked Matthew if she could put on some clothes. She grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger three times, hitting him twice in the heart, killing him. But Matthew got off four shots, hitting her in the arm, the forehead and under her eye, shattering the left side of her face.
Tina was in the hospital for more than two weeks and had several surgeries on her arm, face and brain. Doctors were unable to save her left eye, and a bullet remains lodged in her brain.
“There are days the pain tries to take me down, but I don’t allow it to,” Tina says. “I get up and I keep fighting. I have two kids … I’ve got to take care of my babies. I’ve got to show them that nothing can keep you down. You can allow it to, but I’m not.”
The Doctors send Tina to plastic surgeon Dr. Adil Ceydeli for an evaluation.
Dr. Ceydeli explains that Tina needs an upper and mid-face face rejuvenation, which would include a brow lift, a mid-cheek lift and eyelid tightening, to restore the symmetry of her face, give her a more natural look and allow her to open her eye a little more. The reconstruction also would help reduce her pain. Dr. Ceydeli offers to perform the surgery for free.
No More Tears, an organization that helps survivors of domestic violence, gives Tina $10,000 to help cover other medical-related expenses.
Learn more about No More Tears or call their crisis hot line at 954-324-7669.
For more domestic violence resources, visit Robin McGraw's foundation, WhenGeorgiaSmiled.