Help Donna recover from major surgery to remove a benign yet aggressive tumor in her jaw.
On December 2019, Donna went in for a routine dentist appointment and felt as if her wisdom tooth was loose on her left side and needed to be removed. She thought it may be infected. Donna was not ready for what the panoramic x-ray would reveal—a large black mass.
Her dentist explained that there seemed to be something growing in her jaw and that she would need to see an oral surgeon immediately to find out what it was. She made an appointment hoping it was just an issue with her wisdom tooth.
A biopsy revealed that she had a benign tumor between 3-5 cm growing in her jaw. She was diagnosed with odontogenic myxoma which is a rare, benign but locally aggressive tumor that destroys the jaw bone. If left untreated, it could break her jaw in half or invade more tissue inside her mouth.
The doctor explained that in order to get to the tumor, she would need 3-4 teeth removed and that she would need to undergo a lengthy surgery (between 11-14 hours) to remove the teeth, remove the tumor, and replace jaw bone with her own fibula bone along with a transfer of a vein to restore proper blood flow.
She sat in front of the oral surgeon terrified and weeping because she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She was devastated to find out what she had to do to get rid of this mass. To make matters worse, Covid hit and slowed the process of insurance approvals.
By March, she was finally approved to see another Oral Surgeon through her medical insurance. He took one good look at her and said, “You’re very beautiful and I don’t want to ruin your face." You can imagine the horror she felt. He referred her to Loma Linda Hospital, which her insurance denied, and then sent her to UCLA School of dentistry instead.
Donna met with a resident who was on her way to graduate the program who told Donna that a new set of residents would be handling her case once the resident graduated. She described a different procedure involving hip bone and no vein reconstruction done by residents of the school. She said she would be permanently numb on the left side of her face for her entire life. This was not the procedure that the first oral surgeon had described in detail to her, so she called him to get his opinion on this new procedure. He said this was an ancient procedure that he did not recommend for her. "You are young and you will need your jaw," he cautioned.
By May, Donna had switched insurances to Kaiser in hopes of finding a doctor qualified to treat her--to no avail. She met with an oral surgeon via a phone conversation due to the ongoing pandemic. Instead of one surgery, he wanted possibly three surgeries and none of them included the fibula free flap reconstruction. She was ready to give up. Because of the rarity of this tumor it’s been an uphill battle trying to find a qualified specialist to treat her.
By October 2020, she started to experience severe jaw pain on the lower left side and knew that something must be done in order to get rid of this foreign thing growing in her jaw. She started doing her own research and calling random oral surgeons in the Orange County area in hopes of finding one. She called one doctors office who was kind enough to refer her to the current doctor in Los Angeles.
Surgery date:Her surgery is scheduled for 2/16/21 at 7:30 AM PST. She will be having fibula free flap reconstruction surgery to remove the benign tumor growing in her jaw which is a lengthy surgery between 11-14 hours long. Following her surgery, her mouth will be wired shut for 4-6 weeks and she will not be able to walk or talk. This means She will be out of work for some time depending on how fast she heals.
Although, she was fortunate enough to find a doctor qualified to treat her, this doctor is out-of-pocket and out of the insurance network.
The out-of-pocket cost for the surgery alone is $8,000 which is due upfront before the surgery takes place. This is a large unforeseen expense for her and her family, not to mention being out of work for her recovery which can be anywhere from 2-6 months.
Once she recovers, she will have to get implants to replace the 4 missing molars on the left side of her mouth which will require an additional surgery in the near future.
This trial is not something She expected to have to walk through but God saw her fit to walk through it. She’s asking for your help to get through this and your prayers. “I know there is power in the name of Jesus and believe with all my heart that He will see me through. Standing on Psalm 91 🙏🏽” - Donna
Please help support Donna and her family as she walks through this recovery journey.
- $8,000 out-of-pocket surgery
- $1,500 minimum estimated medicine, specialty care, and nutritional drinks while Donna’s mouth is wired shut and she is on an all-liquid diet
- $7,500 estimated supplemental income needed to assist Donna and her family while she misses an estimated 2-6 months of work
Please also pray for these things specifically: no complications, speedy recovery, no swelling of her tongue or throat, pray for no nausea after surgery, pray for divine peace, for her smile to be the same, and complete and total healing and wholeness. She would appreciate your help and support very very much!