Beautiful mum has half her face removed after rare cancer was wrongly diagnosed as hayfever
A beautiful mum has half her face removed after severe nosebleeds which were misdiagnosed as HAYFEVER turned out to be cancer.
Pretty Jannine McHaffie, 25, from Chelmsford, Essex, had her upper teeth, pallet bone, top right jaw, and parts of her cheek bones removed after being diagnosed with adenoids cystic carcinoma.
The brave full-time mum was diagnosed with the rare cancer, which affects the salivary glands, six months after finding a strawberry sized tumour in her nose.
Now Jannine is back home recovering after surgeons removed a bone from her leg to rebuild the missing facial features.
Jannine, a mum-of-one said: “What started out as a few heavy nosebleeds turned out to be the most horrifying journey of my life.
“I went to my GP who said it was hay fever and there wasn’t a lot he could do about it.
“After 10 months I was finally diagnosed with ACC, I was terrified, I’ve never heard of anything like it.
“I was sat down as surgeons told me they had to remove most of my upper mouth which would be mainly reconstructed by using the fibula bone in my right leg.
“I took a deep breath and put on a brave smile, I knew it had to be done.
“I just kept thinking about my daughter Leylah, 3, I wanted them to do whatever it took to save me as I don’t want to miss a second of her growing up.
“I’ve been back home recovering for three week now and a few days ago I finally walked again for the first time with no crutches.
“I’ve still got radiotherapy to face yet once my mouth and face has healed but I know I’ll smash that after going through all of this.”
By January 2015 the lump in Jannine’s nose had got so big that it affected her breathing so she went for a CT scan, followed by an emergency MRI scan and a biopsy.
By February 24 she was finally diagnosed with ACC and surgeons explained the next stage would be to remove most of her upper mouth.
Jannine underwent the gruelling 13 hour operation on May 26, followed by two other procedures.
Jannine said: “I was sedated for three days whilst I underwent three different operations.
“After the first one surgeons knew that something wasn’t quite right with the roof of my mouth and the blood flow.
“I needed the blood flow into my mouth increased as I kept getting blood clots.
“I was extremely lucky to be referred to the Royal Marsden Hospital, I instantly felt in good hands and they’ve been fantastic.
“I finally came round on the Saturday and kept in CCU for a few more days and then intensive care for one day then onto a ward and finally I went home on the Friday.
“It was a bit early but I was missing my daughter like crazy and wanted to recover at home.”
Thankfully the operation was successful but Jannine will have to have minor surgery on July 6 to have a plate fitted into the roof of her mouth to
fix a small hole.
Jannine said: “My little girl has been my main focus to get through everything, little does she know she’s getting mummy through every day.
“I couldn’t have got through this without the help of my parents, their partners and my wonderful boyfriend Chris.
“He was diagnosed with testicular cancer two years ago but is now thankfully in remission, it’s just crazy how a young couple can both end up with such awful diseases.
“The recovery process is long in about one year when everything’s settled I will be able to have veneers and my appearance should return to normal.
“It’s not easy but every day gets better and positivity is very important, if you remain positive then you can get through anything.
“I don’t know what my future holds, but I plan to fight this every step of the way.”
“The instance of Salivary Gland malignancy overall is about 1 per million and ACC forms about 5% of these tumours, so most surgeons will only see one or two cases in their lifetime.
“Patients usually present with a lump which can be painful and patients are treated with wide surgical resection and usually post-operative radio-therapy.
“The radical resection often has huge implications in the head and neck and one of the commonest sites for ACC is the mouth, oropharynx and mid-face.
“Three dimensional reconstruction is usually required, often with subsequent prosthetics including dental rehabilitation.
“Currently the Get A-Head Charity is funding research with Prof Kevin Harrington at the Institute of Cancer Research into adjuvant chemotherapy for the treatment of ACC in both the adjuvant and palliative setting.”