When someone develops cancer it’s a tragic event. The fight to recovery is long and grueling for the person and everyone who is close to them. What is even worse is when a rare cancer disease strikes, because the symptoms are not easy to read.
For example, take Osteosarcoma, which is also known as bone cancer. It is a rare type of cancer and it is even rarer when it is found in the jaw of a person. It usually causes painful swelling that just doesn’t go away. At times people mistake it with some oral infection and try to deal with the pain.
That is how it started for 24-year-old Canadian Model Elizaveta Bulokhova. She was on a trip to Amsterdam with her boyfriend in May 2014 when she noticed that the right side of her jaw was in pain and very swollen. Two months later the pain was not subsiding but getting worse, so she knew at that moment that it was not a simple toothache.
She immediately went to have it checked out, and after several biopsies and CT scans, it was determined that Bulokhova had a rare form of osteosarcoma. She was informed by doctors that the only way she could survive the cancer was to have her jaw removed.
This news was especially devastating for Bulokhova because she had been working as a model for seven years. She walked down runways and worked as a fashion model all over the world. She knew that if she did the surgery it would make it very difficult for her to continue having a successful career in the modeling industry.
The news got worse for Bulokhova, she was pregnant during the time she developed the cancer and the doctors informed her that after the surgery was complete, she would have to terminate her unborn child. She was in her second trimester but the five rounds of chemotherapy she would require made it impossible to have the child. She told Vice that she would talk to her baby every night and even told him to stop moving because she knew she couldn’t keep him.
Doctors at the University Health Network successfully removed 95 percent of her jaw in October the same year of the diagnosis. The surgery took 16 hours and involved moving the tumor first before removing her jaw. To reconstruct it, they used fibula, veins, nerves and skin grafts from both her shoulders.
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