A cancer survivor has released incredible images showing how her face was rebuilt after the removal of a tumour from her upper jaw.
Jen Taylor, 30, was diagnosed with the cancerous tumour last year, and underwent three weeks of grueling chemotherapy and a 16-hour face operation.
The 30-year-old account manager kept an incredible photo diary after the surgery – using it as a way of helping her cope with the recovery process.
Jen, from London, suffered extreme swelling and deformation to her face – but over time her face healed and her swelling almost entirely diappeared.
During her recovery, Jen, who is now cancer free, also had to learn how to eat, drink and talk – saying she can’t believe she actually survived the ordeal, reports the Mail Online.
The tumour was diagnosed as sarcoma – a rare cancer than can target any part of the body.
Speaking about her experience, Jen said: "I had no pain, I could just feel something on the front of my face.
"There was a lump behind my nose and teeth, but it was too big to be a spot – maybe the size of a grape.
"My dentist said it was an abscess but I didn’t think it was. You can’t expect the dentist to diagnose every rare cancer, so I was referred to Guy’s hospital for a biopsy."
Just two weeks later, Jen found herself at the start of an intense chemotherapy plan.
After the course of chemo ended, Jen underwent a 16-hour operation on her face in March this year to fully remove the cancer which had started to spread to her cheek and skull.
During the surgery, doctors cut out most of her top jaw and her eye socket as well as drilling a hole in the roof of he rmouth.
The spreading of the cancer meant a lot of her bone had to be removed as well as cancerous tissue.
Surgeons then used part of her shoulder blade and muscles from her back to rebuild her face.
Veins from Jen’s neck were then connected to the new flesh to provide a blood supply.
Despite the operation’s success, five days after surgery new flesh in her face began to die – creating a dangerous complication.
Jen was then rushed back to Guy’s hospital for another 10-hour emergency operation to graft a vein from her leg onto her head.
After the second surgery, Jen entered another period of healing as she tried to adjust to her new face.
She had lost all but six of her top teeth and her face became extremely swollen.
She said: ‘I knew it would be bad but when I looked in the mirror afterwards I thought "I don’t look like a person, who’s this?"
Despite the remarkable changes to her face, Jen think she "still looks a bit weird" and says "talking is hard".
And while she may still need more reconstruction surgery in the future, she feels lucky to be alive.
She added: "Writing down a little every day and taking the pictures really helped."
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