When you have mouth sores or dental problems, you might start losing appetite because of the pain and discomfort that they bring. So imagine how Grace felt with a football-sized tumor in her mouth.
According to the 17-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the humungous tumor started off as a little swelling on her gums, which continued to grow, although doctors were clueless as to what it was, leaving the mysterious growth alone.
However, it grew into a facial tumor that overtook Grace’s face as it became the size of a regular football. This pushed Grace into isolation over the ten years she had the tumor to avoid people who would surely stare at her.
Fortunately, the massive tumor did not stop Grace from breathing and eating, although doctors feared that if the tumor grew even bigger, it would suffocate her.
It wasn’t until a floating hospital, Africa Mercy, provided the treatment that Grace needed before her case grew worse. The hospital was one of the ships under “Mercy Ships” that go around the world to grant medical procedures for the poor or for those who cannot be reached by regular medical aid.
After a four-hour surgery and the installation of titanium plates into her lower jaw, Grace was finally on her way to recovery and a normal life. Dr. Gary Parker, her operating surgeon, said that Grace had to wait for around six months before she could wear her artificial teeth for chewing.
Warning: Graphic photos in the clip showing Grace’s journey