A woman who lost part of her tongue to cancer and had to have it replaced with skin from her leg, has noticed hair growing on it. In a series of TikTok videos, she has been sharing her ordeal and how the discovery has left her in a state of shock.
‘Like Being Waterboarded’
In 2013, Cameron Newsom, now 42, started noticing white spots on her tongue, but after multiple visits to different doctors, it was finally diagnosed as skin cancer of the tongue—squamous cell carcinoma.
She had to undergo years of treatment to fight the disease, with the tumour being removed eventually. Newsom said:
At the time of my diagnosis I'd lost over seven pounds because I was unable to eat or drink. It took three years from when the first spot originally appeared for doctors to finally diagnose me - no one ever mentioned it could be oral cancer.
After several rounds of chemotherapy, the cancerous portion of her tongue had to be replaced with skin from her thigh. That procedure lasted nine and a half hours. The mum of two explained that usually, the skin used for grafting is taken from one’s forearm, but she had lost so much weight, they had to turn to her thigh.
The next few weeks were hell because my mouth was so swollen I couldn't swallow or breathe unassisted. I had to be under constant observation and every time my throat had a build-up of blood and body fluid, it had to be flushed away using water. That was basically like being waterboarded by the nurses once or twice a day which was absolutely horrific.
The Road to Recovery
But that was far from the weirdest part of her prolonged fight with cancer. Discovering hair growing on her tongue, came as a shock to the Colorado Springs resident.
The weirdest part of the whole experience was when I felt a rough texture on the thigh part of my tongue - and when I looked in the mirror it had started growing leg hair!
She’s also unable to taste on that side of her tongue or keep food in her mouth properly. Newsom described how the process has been humbling for her.
I had to teach myself how to speak again after the radiation therapy which was a really bizarre feeling. I can only taste on the right side of my tongue which is the real side, and only chew on the right side because the left is attached to my gums. My manners are terrible because food sometimes just falls out my mouth
But all these hairy challenges aside, she is happy to have been able to fight off the disease and to have her life return to normal. After so many years away, she’s been able to go back to her job as a gymnastics coach.
It's now been nine years since my diagnosis and there's been no signs of regression. The longer you go without regressing the less likely it is the cancer will come back, so were all feeling really positive.