A morbidly obese woman can wear jeans for the first time after she lost 500lb when doctors cut out her cancerous tongue – and then removed 15lb of skin from her legs.
Jen Costa, 35, had 100 stitches along her inner thighs after doctors removed a whopping 15lb of sagging skin from her legs – which “filled a whole bin bag”.
She was left with the drooping skin after losing a whopping 34 stone (476lb) when her tongue was removed in 2016, in an operation to rid her of stage 4 cancer.
After cheating death she found herself unable to eat solid food, and had to move to a liquid diet, dropping the pounds over two years.
She was a slender 11 stone (154lbs) – with a tiny 32″ waist – but was mortified by the excess skin on her legs, which forced her to live in joggers.
Even the most simple of tasks such as showering, going to the loo and sleeping difficult – so she had a bilateral thighplasty to remove the 15lb of fat from her legs.
The five hour op removed a lymphedema mass – a long-term chronic condition that causes swelling – and she is thought to be the first person to overcome the incurable disease.
Finally Jen has been able to dress for her size and and swap joggers for proper trousers and jeans for the first time since she was a kid.
Jen, from New York City, said: “It’s awesome. I have normal legs now.
“The doctor said it was the largest thighplasty he had ever done.
“They said my skin filled up the whole bin bag.
“I mean that’s the weight of two house pets. It’s crazy.
“Now I’m able to look down and see a normal looking leg. It really has been a long time since I’ve seen that.”
Jen saw her weight balloon to an astonishing 46st after being hit by a car aged 19, breaking her left knee and tearing her ligaments in half.
She lost movement in her legs for a year and then struggled with putting weight on her leg, plunging her into a depression and making her turn to food for comfort.
She also self-medicated with ‘angel-dust’ – PCP – for comfort, and piled on a whopping 25 stone over the course of 14 years, until was was a size 9XL.
But in early 2015 Jen noticed she had an aching pain in her mouth, which was eventually diagnosed as stage 4 metastatic cancer.
Although initially being told she was too fat for surgery, doctors eventually decided to remove 95 per cent of her tongue to and replace it with one made from a bit of her arm in 2016.
For the past three-and-a-half years Jen has been on a diet of liquid shakes which – coupled with three skin removal surgeries – saw her weight drop from 46 stone to a remarkable 11 stone.
She was booked in for a bilateral thighplasty at Bellevue Hospital on January 31 this year, where doctors cut from her groin to her knees to cut away the fat.
The excess fluid was drained from her legs and was discharged the same day.
Jen spent the next two weeks recovering at home.
Jen said: “Before the operation I would just feel embarrassed and would live in sweat pants.
“I would have trouble sleeping with the excess skin and in the summer I would get a rash.
“Now it’s awesome.
“I’m able to wear trousers that fit me properly.
“I’m now a 32 inch waist in jeans and able to wear jeans for the first time since I was a kid.
“I’m able to play with my dog which I could never do before.”
You can follow the Jen’s journey at www.facebook.com/strongheartnation23