A mother who is battling terminal cancer has been left with a crumbled jaw after doctors were forced to remove half of her face to cure her of the disease.
Leanne Hock was diagnosed with the incredibly rare maxillary sinus carcinoma cancer in December 2009 after suffering from a blocked nose for three years.
After numerous tests and x-rays, medics told her she had cancer and would have to have half of her face removed for her to survive.
The 33-year-old underwent reconstructive surgery at the Royal Derby Hospital to prevent the tumour behind her cheekbone – which was bigger than an orange – from returning.
Surgeons removed Leanne’s eye socket, cheek bone, top jaw and the roof of her mouth in a 15-hour operation to save her life.
During the gruelling operation in February 2010, medics used a bone from Leanne’s leg in the reconstruction to rebuild her face.
Leanne was told by her surgeon that she would face a five-year recovery period, and was only just beginning to feel herself again.
But in March last year, the front of her jaw bone suddenly collapsed after radiotherapy sessions weakened her bones.
Leanne, from Chaddesden, Derbys., said: “I was in intensive care for a very long time while they were doing it. I was against it at first but they told me the cancer would come back if they didn’t do it.
Leanne, who can no longer work due to her illness but used to run a bar with her father, said: “I couldn’t believe it. This bone had come from my leg and it collapsed.
“After the surgery I was finally going out with family and I felt a lot of my confidence had come back.
“I could look at myself in the mirror which was brilliant because a face is the first thing people see. But since March I don’t go out.
“When I pick my children up from school, I stay in the car. I can’t go to the shops and my confidence has been destroyed.
“I feel a large part of my life has been taken away. I’d had a great social life but it’s gone.
“Before this I loved wearing make-up and going out with friends and having a good time.
“I don’t go anywhere now. It’s destroyed my confidence, there’s nothing left and I feel like a recluse.”
Leanne, who lives her two children Loui, 15, and Niko, eight, was told her case was one of the most rare and complicated scenarios surgeons have had to deal with.
But despite the operation being carried out to kill the cancer, Leanne has been told the cancer has returned and is terminal.
As with the first diagnosis, Leanne was aware of the warning signs before she was told the devastating news.
She visited the doctors after suffering back pain which became sharper and worse over time.
Leanne said: “At this point, as far as I knew, the cancer had gone and all of the treatment had been a success.
“But then I was going for a biopsy and then I got the news it had returned in January.
“It was in two parts of my spine and hip. And then later I was told it was incurable.”
After being advised by the NHS that no more can be done to save her, Leanne researched alternative methods and discovered a treatment offered by a clinic in Mexico.
Leanne’s children have now made an emotional video appeal for help in raising £40,000 so she can make the long-haul journey and afford the treatment.
Leanne said: “My children could not accept that I might not be here. They mean the world to me and that is why I am doing this. They were absolutely gutted and heartbroken.
“They inspired me to look at other treatments and I read in the news that a woman was looking to go to Mexico. I did some research, contacted them and they sounded positive.
“But I thought it was impossible because of the money. But my boys told me to start a campaign.
“I could not say no to them – they were adamant. That is when they recorded the video and told me to put it online.
“They cannot accept that I have been told I will die. I was very scared when the medics said it was terminal.
“So that is how the campaign has started.”
The campaign has raised over £1,200 in online donations in just a few days.
In the video, Leanne’s two children hold up several signs with writing on them explaining the situation and asking for help.
They boys held up poignant messages including “we want to save our mummy” and “please, please help us to get our mum the treatment she needs. We want her to see us grow up”.
Leanne said the alternative treatment includes a diet of vitamins and healthy eating.
She will spend a month receiving the treatment before returning to the UK where she will be monitored before returning later for another two weeks.
She will the be scanned to see if the treatment has cured her.
She said: “I have spoken to people online who have been to the clinic and are cured. It is amazing.
“I don’t have any other hope because in this country they have said nothing more can be done.
“I am doing this for my boys. I am not someone who likes to ask for help and donations.
“But my boys wanted me to do it and it is for them. I want to see them grow up, get jobs, get married and have children.
“I feel this is the only way.
“I’ll try anything to get it back. I’ve waited long enough and I just want to look something like I used to.
“It was a huge shock. I’m so worried about my young boys. I’ve now been given a time span some people have three years and others can get eight years.
“I want to try and fight it the best I can.
“That’s all I’ve known in these years, just fight and keep going.
“I feel so sorry for them. They should not have to worry about this at their age.
“I haven’t been able to go to work which means I’ve been short for money which has affected them.
“I always worked hard before this happened. They have been through so much with seeing their mum like this and they have been amazing.
“For several years I’d had a lot of blocked noses and I just thought it was allergies and ignored it.
“You never imagine it will be something which will have such an impact on your life.
“But then I found a lump so I went to the doctors to have some scans. The lump was on the left side of my face.
“It didn’t take long for the doctors to tell me it was a rare form of cancer and I knew I’d got a major battle on my hands.
“I just didn’t realise how big that was going to be.”
Donations can be made via Leanne‘s fundraising page: https://crowdfunding.