Face Transplant Patient to Donor Family: 'I Really Love Them for Being So Thoughtful'

Dr. Kathy Coffman, the psychiatrist who worked with Culp, said she was a resilient patient, having been through 27 procedures before the face transplant, and she believes Culp will be a good ambassador to other potential patients.

"She is a very down-to-earth person, and she was able to approach people before she had the surgery, when she had been injured," Coffman said. "Her resilience was key."

"I'm sure she will be willing to meet with other patients [and] candidates," Siemionow said.

Face Transplant Patient Still Faces Complex Issues

Though the surgeons regard Culp's recovery as a success so far, the new face means a lifelong adjustment. Culp continues to take powerful immunosuppressive drugs to reduce the risk that her body will reject her new face. She already endured a minor episode of rejection about a month and a half after the surgery. Fortunately, doctors were able to treat the problem quickly with high doses of the anti-rejection drugs.

Culp's new face is not done changing. In the coming weeks and months, doctors expect swelling to go down and even more function to return. The advances will be gradual, and they will require determination on Culp's part to maintain exercise therapy and continue to monitor the graft for any potential problems.

But Culp is no stranger to challenges. Since her injury, she has learned to read Braille. She has adapted to her new life using special serving cups, talking calculators and other tools to manage daily chores.

Still, she said that she occasionally still feels frustrated by her situation.

"Oh, yeah, I wouldn't be human if I didn't," she said.

Good Morning America producers contributed to this report.

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