This is a story about how we must never take our looks for granted. We might have the most optimal features that make the best selfies, but fate can step in and turn that all around. This is what happened to a man from Michigan. He is lucky to be alive.
This is also a story about hope, optimism and perseverance.
Tim McGrath is 38, and used to be a prime specimen of a man.
He had the face and the body to make any male envious.
He had a mega-watt smile to go with it, as well.
Then cancer struck.
One day in 2014, Tim felt terrible pain in his jaw. He thought he could bear it for a while, but eventually the severe agony forced him to seek medical intervention.
Doctors gave him very unfortunate news. The pain stemmed from a growing tumor diagnosed to be a Synovial Sarcoma. A rare and aggressive form of cancer, the National Institute of Health says this form of cancer shows no signs or symptoms initially, but in time, it rapidly forms and expands, damaging the different body systems surrounding it.
The tumor grew until it was the size of a softball on Tim’s face.
Desperate, Tim researched nonsurgical alternatives, but after the tumor rendered him unrecognizable and unable to function, he had to have it removed.
The tumor took over his face and prevented him from eating.
The procedure took 30 hours, and Tim spent nearly two months in the hospital recovering from the ordeal.
The once-handsome man was heartbroken when he saw what was left of his face.
Tragedy struck once again when doctors tried to reconstruct his face. Tim’s beleaguered body rejected this form of medical intervention.
His face turned red, raw and horribly exposed.
Tim was in agony. He had to live for over a year with half a face and gaping flesh.
“Eventually I was discharged and the cavity was closed but over time the transplant kept shrinking and I experienced numerous infections. There were so many times when I wanted to give up and at times it was difficult to find the strength to carry on.”
Suffering numerous complications, he met with Michigan plastic surgeon, Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate.
Dr. Chaiyasate decided to try something new for Tim’s case. He used a pioneering surgery which involved using skin from Tim’s forearm and leg to rebuild his face.
Thankfully, Tim’s body responded well to this type of treatment. He told Huffington Post UK how grateful he was over the positive results under Dr. Chaiyasate’s care.
Tim shortly after his facial reconstruction.
“He has given me so much hope. I’ve had over 20 surgeries to date and five of those have been with Dr C, none of which have been rejected.”
Tim with Dr Kongkrit Chaiyasate.
Despite losing his good looks to the cancer and subsequent infections, Tim is optimistic about his new lease on life.
He is set to have more reconstruction work on his face well into 2018, and he remains positive about his future.
He currently runs a website chronicling his journey through privilege, pain, blessing and opportunity to inspire many other people and raise money for others like him.
Enjoying life to the fullest.
“My journey has been long and mostly inconceivable to most, but I have an amazing support group around me and I draw strength from them daily. I have been through something horrific, but if what I’ve gone through can inspire people to live their lives with gratitude for the things they take for granted then it makes what I’ve gone through all worth it.”
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