Mom disfigured by cancer misdiagnosis will get a whole new face

Lessy Kotelevskaya has been through a lot. The 30-year-old mom to 7-year-old boy was left disfigured by strong radiation therapy that was used to treat a supposedly cancerous tumor found in her cheek in her native Ukraine. That is until she got a second opinion and discovered that she never actually had cancer. Can you believe that? Now she's scheduled to have plastic surgery to reconstruct her entire face. Kotelevskaya is getting a procedure that would normally cost millions of dollars for free--and all thanks to a surgeon at the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky.


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Kotelveskaya's nightmare began 10 years ago during a basketball game in her native Ukraine. A fan accidentally hit her in the jaw, leaving it swollen for days. Doctors assumed that the swelling stemmed from a cancerous tumor and had her undergo a serious radiation treatment that didn't just leave her face disfigured but also impaired her from being able to eat or even talk. Poor thing!

Because she could hardly eat, Kotelveskaya dropped to just 79 pounds. She lost everything: her job, her husband and eventually her home. All along she thought she was walking around with cancer and without a jaw bone, which was also removed because of the accident. But her life changed when a cousn from the U.S. tracked her down and convinced her to come Stateside and get a second opinion.

"She probably had a benign cyst on the jawbone," Dr. Jarrod Little, a reconstructive surgeon from University of Louisville Physicians told ABC News. Little is actually the one who donated his time to perform the procedure for Kotelveskaya for free. "Someone fell on her and when her jaw cracked, they saw the cyst and did a biopsy to see if it was cancer," he added. "[This can often] be mistaken for cancer under the microscope." Dr. Little will be reconstructing her jaw with bone from her leg.

I am SO happy for this woman. It is so refreshing to see that there are still kind people out there in this world that are willing to do good deeds for free. I am so excited to see how she's going to look after Dr. Little is able to give her a new face AND her life back!

ABC US News | ABC Sports News

Image via ABC News

Topics: plastic surgery  cancer