Woman makes incredible recovery after losing half her nose during cancer battle

One woman has shared her heartbreaking battle with quamous cell carcinoma, a deadly skin cancer, and documented her journey with a graphic series of photos.

Marisha Dotson first thought that the spot on her nose was a regular pimple. But when it started growing at ‘an alarming rate’, she scraped together the funds to see a dermatologist and was diagnosed with the rare – and incredibly aggressive – cancer.


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From there, it was a rapid and dramatic journey of treatment and multiple surgeries.

‘I have had 12 surgeries, 38 radiation therapy treatments, and lots of pain trying to fight this,’ she wrote on her YouCaring Page. ‘I’m missing the protective layers in my nose, thus I am always fighting off infections and sickness in addition to cancer. I get critical inflammation in my nasal cavity and back of throat. My allergies are magnified now.’

‘March 3 I had the rest of my septum removed, the rest of my cartilage removed, half of my nasal bone removed, most of my left and some of my right nasal cavity removed, lots of deep tissue removed, pieces of bone from my upper jaw and roof of mouth removed, my entire nasal column, and most of my entire left side of nose once again. I am in an enormous amount of pain.’

I suppose I look pretty good for one week post operations, haha! I know what I've been through and what I'm going through now isn't even the worst of it, and that's scary. However, I'm at peace knowing I'll fight with everything I'm capable of, knowing my Heavenly Father loves me, and knowing lots of people love me too. I have a large posse; is that still a thing? Lol. Thankful for the thoughts, prayers, and love. I'm obviously disappointed and upset nothing we have done has killed this beast of a cancer, but I'm hopeful future treatment and surgeries will be the charm. I'm still going to laugh it up, as often as I can. #skincancer #skincancersurvivor #fighter #love #cancersucks #mylightshinesbrightly #cancersucksbutmyspiritisstrong #imhappyanyway #imgoingtofight #imgoingtobeatcancer #imgoingtofightlikeachamp #takethatcancer #iknowmyworth #iknowmyheavenlyfatherlovesme #notalone#takethatcancer

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In Tennessee, where Marisha lives, medical care is extremely expensive and she found herself struggling to afford the treatment, as well as basic necessities like food and accommodations.

‘I have surgery fees, medicines, co-pays, deductibles, medical supplies, transportation to and from appointments, blood work ups, transfusions, scans, insurance premiums, what insurance doesn’t cover, food, and then living expenses.’

Genuinely fearing for her life, she took to the crowdfunding website to raise the substantial amount she needed for her surgeries.

I lived through this last year and made it. I'll do what it takes. Every time I think I am not going to make it through the day, I remind myself what I have already overcome. I remind myself people love me and won't let me face this alone again. I remind myself I am a #princesswarrior. Life is difficult now for me. I get frustrated with not being able to be the person I used to be, or being able to be a normal 20s person. I am sometimes scared beyond reason because I have an incurable cancer and have to come to terms with my own mortality. I also see the flowing love and am grateful. This is my burden to bear, and I will use it to help others. I'm in for the marathon, because I have lots still to do with my life. I'll fight for the chance to live. I'm tired, but I'm going to give it all I have. I'm thankful for the best team of doctors in Knoxville. Not going down without a fight. #fightingcancer #cancersucksbutmyspiritisstrong #mylightshinesbrightly #pray #strongerthanpain #strongerthancancer #igetbackup #skincancer #gameface #rareskincancer #skincancerawareness #fighter #determination #hope #thankful

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‘My greatest fear is that I will die because I won’t have the funds to have access to necessary treatments to help me survive. So I must ask for help because I want to live,’ she said.

After battling valiantly, the disease appeared to be in remission – but in July 2015, she was told it was back and had spread quicker than before.

Incredibly, Marisha was able to fight off the illness, and is now recovering with a nose grafted from skin from her scalp.

But she knows she still has a long way to go.

You can totally see where I've had raging shiners and deep bruising, but not even a week post surgery yet and my face is actually healing well and fast. I hope this is good tidings coming my way as I've had severe infections and troubles healing for months! I'm not even troubled by facial scars anymore; they build character. Something seems to be helping? Or maybe it's that I slept the first two days! 😂 Sure didn't last long though. Anway, yay!! Silver linings people, I wish I could get paid for it. I look extremely tough, right? 💪😇 #fightingcancer #proudbattlescars #battlescars #cancersucks #cancerreality #princesswarrior #cantkillmyhumor #survivor #cancerwarrior #mylightshinesbrightly#imgoingtokickcancersbutt #rareskincancer #fighttowin #takethatcancer #cancerisgoingdown #toughgirl #scarface

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‘This has been an extremely isolating experience,’ she said. ‘Accepting and dealing with the changes cancer has left is not easy. It is still a work in progress that may never go away. My face is changed forever, and I am no longer the person I was a year ago. I am stronger, but I miss my face and not having to worry about cancer eating at my defenses.’