My life was shattered when I found out that I had cancer. The tumor under my check bone had spread behind my right eye and there was a chance I could lose my eye. I begged the doctors to save my eye at any cost. They removed my cheek bone and saved my eye, then, I went through extensive radiation therapy. I put up with all the hardship of radiation therapy because I was happy that they were able to save my eye. Unfortunately, a year later, the doctors discovered a tumor re-growth behind my right eye and the only option was to remove my eye and surrounding tissues.
Between the two surgeries, my right cheek bone, eye socket, and small part of my nose bone was gone and I was left with a two inch open hole in my face. I was devastated. On many occasions I begged God to kill me.
All my life I have worked, and in general I am a very social and active person, this big hole in my face brought all that to a screeching halt. I did not want to look at myself in the mirror and I stopped seeing everyone. I refused to let any one come over to my home, and I rarely went out of the house. My only contact with the outside world was through my 14 year old daughter and phone.
I live in Lithuania. After cancer took over my life, I tried to have a prosthetic eye made to cover this gigantic hole in my face that connected to my mouth. The person making my eye tried over and over again but unfortunately, none of the prostheses were successful.
An old friend I had met in Lithuania invited me to Salt Lake City where I was able to meet with the Head & Neck team at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Dr. Jason Hunt gave me a second opinion on my cancer treatment and introduced me to Paul Tanner in Prosthetics.
I couldn't thank Paul enough for his kindness and work he did on my prosthetic eye. The flight home was the longest trip of my life because I could not wait to show my new face to my family and friends. My daughter started crying when she saw me. She told me I look beautiful. You have given me my normal life back again. I go out of the house again and carry my normal life without being conscious of people staring at me. My friends and family were shocked to see how good I looked without a big hole in my face covered with a white bandage. I went to see my doctor and they were amazed. More than five doctors showed up at the clinic to examine my eye and touch it and feel it.