Marzia Zada said Wednesday she was "feeling great" after what could very well turn out to be a life-altering surgery.
Zada is an Afghan, and when she was just 6 years old in 2012, she was in the car with her father and brother when they were stopped by the Taliban. Her father threw himself over the two children. All three of them were shot, but Marzia was the only one to make it out alive.
However, she was shot in the face.
She was outfitted with a prosthetic eye and had nasal surgery.
"But for the last ten years, her tear duct has been scarred off, causing chronic basically crying or tearing from the right eye," said Dr. Mark Chaskes, an otolaryngologist and rhinologist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
"So essentially, for the last ten years, she's just had infected tears pouring down the right side of her face. And the goal of the surgery was to reestablish tear duct drainage into her nose so that she can essentially stop tearing constantly," Chaskes said.
Chaskes says she’s been tear-free since the surgery.
For Zada, it’s been an emotional journey.
"Wherever I go, I see people look at me and laugh at me," Zada, who has just begun learning English, said.
Elissa Montanti, founder of Global Medical Relief Fund, helped get Zada out for a surgery years ago and again for this one.
"Believe it or not, she was bullied because she was missing an eye," Montanti said.
Montanti says they aren’t sure whether Zada will now go back to continue living with the rest of her family in Afghanistan or if she will try to stay in the United States.
But wherever Zada ends up, she’s hopeful she’ll be able to pursue the career she desires.
"Doctor," Zada said when asked what she would do if she has the opportunity to study in a university.