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Updated 03 May 2018

Woman diagnosed with skin cancer has ear and neck dissection in a bid to save her life

She’s undergone an ear and neck dissection in a bid to save her life.

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Morgan, from Melbourne Australia, now has a 22cm long scar running from the top of her ear to her collarbone, after an eagle-eyed doctor spotted a suspicious mole.

"The small mole on my ear didn't look suspicious [to me] but a doctor decided to remove it just to be on the safe side, and that decision saved my life,” says Morgan.

"I had 22 lymph nodes removed from my neck as well as a major neck muscle and the tip of my ear.

"I have a huge scar running down my neck as a result of the surgery which is noticeable but has slowed the cancer down,” she says.

In February 2018, the 25-year-old, who has chosen not to disclose her surname, was devasted when she discovered she had melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, and urgently needed a part of her neck removed.

"It was already at stage 3C which is just one step before it's classed as terminal.

After undergoing multiple rounds of radiotherapy, Morgan is now stable and awaiting further scans.

"They tried to remove all of the cancer but when the tumours were sent off it showed that they didn’t get clear margins, meaning there was still melanoma cells in my neck so I had radiotherapy to try and eliminate the rest.

"I finished my treatment earlier this week but I’ll need regular scans to ensure it doesn't return elsewhere in my body,” says the young woman.

Morgan had no health problems until she reached the age of 19.

After a string of crippling illnesses, she was diagnosed with CTLA-4 haploinsufficiency – a rare genetic mutation that affects the immune system, in October last year.

"It all started with blindness in my right eye every time I went running, from there I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis – a condition that affects the brain and spinal cord which can lead to loss of movement and nerve damage.

"As well as problems with my bowels, lung disease and precancerous cells in my cervix.

Only one month after her CLTA-4 diagnosis, Morgan was told that she has osteoporosis – a condition that weakens all the bones in a body.

"Not only have I also suffered numerous allergic reactions to medications and almost died last year as doctors battled to figure out why my body was attacking itself.

"The gene mutation has left doctors unable to treat my cancer effectively.

“I can't have cancer immunotherapy to help fight my melanoma because due to my genetic disorder the treatment could kill me but it's something they’ll try if I reach the terminal stages of my cancer.

“My best option would be a stem cell transplant to reset my immune system but at the moment, there’s not a single bone marrow donor match,” she says.

The brave blogger had decided to share her inspiring journey online to help support and educate others.

"I wanted to share my experiences online in a bid to help anyone else who is going through something similar, says Morgan.

"I’ve posted images, blog updates and medical information, hopefully showing others what it’s like to live with chronic illness, in particular very rare illness like CTLA-4 haploinsufficiency, and to connect with others going through something similar.

"I’ve been through so much in my life so far but I do my best to stay positive with a smile on my face."

Source: Magazine Features

Pictures: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA

 
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