In a twist of fate, a 35-year-old New York woman said being diagnosed with stage 4 oral cancer and losing 95 percent of her tongue actually saved her life at a time when she topped the scales at nearly 650 pounds .
"I had to die a little to learn to appreciate what it felt like to really live," Jen Costa, who has lost nearly 500 pounds in two and a half years, told SWNS. "I am living for the very first time in my life."
CONSIDERING DECADE-LONG HEROIN ADDICTION that she sought the opinion of a dentist who allegedly fired the small white lump on her tongue like a virus. When she finally found a doctor who was willing to take her complaint seriously, she was told that it was stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma that had spread to the lymph nodes in her throat, SWNS reported.
Despite her diagnosis, doctors were reluctant to treat her because of her obesity.
"He told me he didn't feel comfortable working on me because of my size," Costa told SWNS. "He denied me surgery because he said the radiation would not come through my throat because of all the fat."
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Costa said that her weight problems started after a car accident left her bed. She said she spent her days eating take-out food and had started self-medicating with drugs and eventually gained £ 350 for 14 years.
She eventually found a doctor who was willing to undergo surgery, but it was about removing 95 percent of her tongue and reconstructing it with the skin from her arm. Costa was told that she risked needing a feeding tube for the rest of her life and would need a ventilator to breathe, but she has defied the odds, according to SWNS.
"To be honest, I don't know how I survived it," she told the news outlet.
Costa is now on a diet with liquid shakes and has had several procedures to remove excess skin since her dramatic weight loss. She said she can't taste food and chew properly and lacks pizza and the taste of Grandma's chicken. Costa still knows that she would have eaten herself to death had she not been diagnosed with cancer.
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"The diagnosis turned my life completely," she told SWNS.