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A mum who lost part of her tongue after a battle with cancer has had a new one made out of part of her leg - only for it to start growing hair. You can hear more of her remarkable story in the video below:
While she was glad to get rid of the cancerous growth on her tongue, she was shocked to discover one day that the bit of leg that was in her mouth was capable of growing hair.
That’s not exactly what you need, particularly after having already undergone the trauma of cancer and subsequent treatment.
Still, that’s exactly what happened to 42-year-old Cameron Newsom.
She was just getting on with her life when she received the news out of the blue that she had cancer.
Eventually, after years of battling the disease, she had to have her tongue partially replaced with skin and muscle tissue from her thigh.
After visiting medical professionals because of spots on her tongue on a few occasions, Cameron was eventually diagnosed with skin cancer of the tongue – squamous cell carcinoma – by an ear, nose and throat specialist.
The Colorado Springs resident said: "At the time of my diagnosis I'd lost over seven pounds because I was unable to eat or drink.
"It took three years from when the first spot originally appeared for doctors to finally diagnose me - no one ever mentioned it could be oral cancer.
"When I was told, it seemed like I was being handed a death sentence there and then, but straight away my reaction was: I'm ready to fight this.
"I was 33 at the time and in very good shape, so I couldn't understand why this was happening to me.
"When I got home that day I googled my type of cancer and as you can imagine the results were absolutely terrifying.
"There were images of people after having their jaws removed or sawed in half - I'd never been so scared."
After spending years struggling with pain and nearly unable to eat, as well as undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy, she had to have the tumour removed from her tongue.
In a nine-and-a-half hour operation, they grafted part of her thigh onto her tongue.
Cameron continued: "They usually take skin from your forearm, but I’m only five foot two, so I didn’t have enough skin on my forearm to replace what I was having removed.
"The next few weeks were hell because my mouth was so swollen I couldn't swallow or breathe unassisted.
"I had to be under constant observation and every time my throat had a build-up of blood and body fluid, it had to be flushed away using water.
"That was basically like being waterboarded by the nurses once or twice a day which was absolutely horrific.”
However, the strangest part was yet to come.
She explained: "The weirdest part of the whole experience was when I felt a rough texture on the thigh part of my tongue - and when I looked in the mirror it had started growing leg hair!"
Now, Cameron has learned to use her new tongue properly, although speaking, eating and even tasting are completely different.
She said: "I had to teach myself how to speak again after the radiation therapy which was a really bizarre feeling.
"I can only taste on the right side of my tongue which is the real side, and only chew on the right side because the left is attached to my gums.
"My manners are terrible because food sometimes just falls out my mouth, and when food gets stuck underneath my tongue it feels like having a small rock in your shoe."
Still, there is an upside. The cancer appears to have stayed away, and she’s back at work as a gymnastics coach after a years-long ordeal.
Cameron concluded: "It's now been nine years since my diagnosis and there's been no signs of regression.
"The longer you go without regressing the less likely it is the cancer will come back, so were all feeling really positive.
"2013 was the toughest year of my life and I couldn't have done it without the support of my amazing Antony and the rest of my family."
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