A 27-year-old mother may never speak again, after undergoing surgery to have her voice box removed in an effort to fight cancer.
Heather Longdon, from Nottingham, England, was initially told by her primary care physician that she was merely suffering from a common cold. But after her cough and sore throat persisted for nearly six months, doctors eventually diagnosed her with stage 3 pharyngeal cancer. After seven weeks of treatment, doctors declared her “cancer free,” but unfortunately, Mrs. Longdon did not have her health for long.
Four months later, the cancer returned and that is when the real trouble began.
Mrs. Longdon was first diagnosed with pharyngeal cancer in April 2015. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments everyday for almost two months. In Februrary of 2016, doctors said she was in the clear, the cancer was gone. However, her pain began to return in just a matter of months. Even though her doctors insisted that these were just routine side effects of treatment, Longdon demanded a biopsy.
Her biopsy revealed that the cancer had indeed returned, leading her doctors to suggest that the only hope was to remove her voice box surgically. A ten-day hospital stay was expected to follow her surgery, but things did not go according to plan.
Following her surgery, Longdon developed a serious infection that caused severe swelling in her face and throat. She spent seven more weeks in the hospital and had to endure two more procedures, just to try to control the distension. A drain had to be placed in her neck due to the complications, and surgeons tried to compress her jugular veins to try to minimize the swelling in her face.
Unfortunately, the pressure in her veins has continued to build and cause her throat and face to be distended. And because she is still battling infection, surgeons have been unable to operate. Mrs. Longdon is still unable to speak, but has just one thing she wishes could do — tell her son she loves him.
She told the Daily Mail, “To be able to tell my son I love him, just little things like that, it means so little to some people as they have a voice. But mine’s been taken away and I didn’t realise how much is taken it for granted until it was gone. I’m just thankful to still be here to watch my son grow and make plenty of memories.”
The family remains hopeful; a specialist in California believes he could help Mrs. Longdon by conducting a voice box transplant.
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