Christine was diagnosed with an ameloblastoma in her bottom left jaw in 1993. Below she shares her remarkable story with us; one of courage and perseverance. Christine highlights the importance of trusting your instincts and pursuing unusual symptoms.
I did not realise at the time, but I was one of the lucky ones as it was not silently destroying all my jaw without obvious symptoms.
I suddenly realised one day that I could not chew properly - the ameloblastoma was pushing my teeth up on the left, giving me a very uneven bite.
I was referred to the dental hospital, had a biopsy and was eventually informed that I would need an operation to remove an ameloblastoma and the surrounding jaw, replacing the lost bone with some bone from my hip.
It would be an understatement to say I was afraid of both the operation and the future prognosis.
After the operation my hip was sore and I had a struggle walking for a couple of weeks but had very little pain in my jaw. Within a few months I was back to normal and continued with check-ups for about 10 years.
The end of the story? Not quite!
In 2015 during a regular dentist appointment, I had an X-ray (my second stroke of luck). This was followed up by a very unexpected and distressing phone call from the dental clinic at Mexborough inviting me for an appointment and eventually a biopsy.
It was back...
I was referred to Mr. Muzzammil Nusrath, (my third stroke of luck), who carried out the operation at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. He reassured me that removing my jaw and transplanting my leg bone and muscle to rebuild it would not be necessary and we could be conservative. Mr Nusrath removed the ameloblastoma and fixed a bone graft from the side of the jaw (known as a Ramus bone graft) with a X titanium plate and screws (see pre-operative and post-operative X-rays below).
(Christine's pre-operative X-ray above)
(Christine's post-operative X-ray above)
Once again, I have recovered and have regular check-ups.
The worst part of it all was the fear of the unknown. However, if it returns again, I am confident that Mr. Nusrath will find it early. Not all ameloblastomas need aggressive treatments and complex reconstruction.
The moral of this story is, be vigilant, have regular dental check-ups and above all follow up any concerns you have until you are completely satisfied.
The support of my family and friends has been invaluable to me. We even went on a family holiday once I had recovered from my surgery to celebrate!
I will be forever grateful for the care and kindness I have received from Mr. Nusrath and his team. He is a perfect gentleman and wonderful surgeon.