A 36-year-old woman from the UK, who lost her tongue due to cancer, has got a new one made from a part of her arm. Stephanie Wigglesworth, who hails from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, was suffering from small ulcers in her mouth and her tongue started to feel numb.
She was left devastated when tests revealed she had squamous cell carcinoma.
Her treatment began and as many as six four-hour-long surgeries were performed to slice off half of her tongue. The surgeries required precision as doctors had to cut through her neck in order to reach her tongue.
But all hopes of talking again were not lost for Stephanie. Her doctors constructed her a new tongue by taking some skin, a vein and a bit of muscle from her arm.
Although Stephanie continues to eat through a straw and her new tongue has not cleared her speech, she is completely cancer-free.
My arm, where the skin was removed, hurt more than my mouth, which I couldn't believe. All my friends and family know I'm a positive person. When you get cancer, it's like you're being forced into a club that you don't want to join. I want my old voice back, but I can't, so I just have to accept it,- said Stephanie.
In 2013, she started getting recurring ulcers on her tongue. Just a month later, her tongue went completely numb. That’s when Stephanie decided to visit the doctor.
After the first round of tests, Stephanie was told she was suffering from Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), a type os stroke. But further scans revealed she was actually suffering from a type of cancer.
Having been a smoker, Stephanie says she had to endure a tough time but was supported well by her husband, Gary. "I was a smoker so I felt like I deserved it, but I just wanted to stick around for my children to remember me,” she said.
Stephanie's doctors 'constructed' her a new tongue by taking some skin, a vein and a bit of muscle from her arm