A mum thought she had bitten her tongue in her sleep only to find out she had cancer.
Jamie Powell, from California, US, woke up with a bump on her tongue in December 2019 and thought nothing of it until she noticed that it continued to grow over the coming weeks.
Despite her dentist telling her he wasn't concerned, the 37-year-old went for a check up with her doctor and had some tests carried out. And in January 2020, she received the news it was cancerous.
She then underwent a glossectomy, surgery to remove the affected part of the tongue, which was then rebuilt using skin taken from her leg.
Jamie also had a neck dissection after a scan showed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
She said: "I woke up one morning in December 2019 with a bump on the back of the left side of my tongue and thought I must have bitten it in my sleep.
"I didn't think it was a big deal and expected it to heal quickly. It wasn't until two weeks went by that I noticed it wasn't healing and the bump was actually getting bigger.
"I had a routine dental cleaning appointment scheduled for early January 2020 so I waited for that so my dentist could have a look. He didn't think it was anything to worry about but I knew in my gut that something was wrong."
After undergoing surgery, Jamie was in hospital for weeks, and due to the global pandemic was unable to see anyone.
During this time, doctors then found her cancer had also entered her nervous system, and she underwent 30 rounds of radiation to her head and neck, leaving her with burns.
Jamie said: "The radiation was the hardest thing I have ever done. I met with my radiologist and she explained that it was a morbid treatment and one of the toughest types of radiation.
"I was told I may never be able to talk or sound the same, which was heart-breaking and I worried about the effect this would have on my children.
"Every day for six weeks I endured severe burns to the inside of my mouth and neck, and was bolted to the radiation table in a mesh mask and zapped for fifteen minutes."
She added: "My tongue felt like a foreign object in my mouth and I had to re-learn how to move and control it.
"Cancer is just as much a mental fight as it is physical. I felt ugly and was embarrassed at how I looked and sounded. My mouth had a droop from where I had no feeling on the left side and I lost forty pounds from being unable to eat.
"However, I've survived one-hundred per cent of my bad days and I will continue to do so - I plan on being around for a long time to raise my boys."
Featured Image Credit: Media Drum World