See How This Model Managed To Survive Almost Losing Her Jaw & Her Baby To A Rare Cancer

Elizaveta-Bulokhova-photographer-Manolo-Ceron

Imagine having everything in your going perfectly, just the way you planned, and then one day something happens to you that throws you way off course. Do you admit defeat in the face of adversity or do you continue on your path in life and find a way around the difficult circumstance?

For one Canadian woman, defeat was NOT an option. Toronto-based Elizaveta Bulokhova studied law, but her stunning looks opened up a modeling career that saw her travel the world strutting her stuff on the runway.

But in 2014 while on a holiday with her boyfriend, she started experiencing some pain in her jaw which grew increasingly worse. After getting some scans, she found out she had a very rare form of bone cancer in her jaw.

A Vice Canada article on Elizaveta also stated that after consulting with a doctor, she was told that she needed to have her jaw removed, but that’s not all. Elizaveta was pregnant at the time and because of the intensity of treatment and surgery, she was advised to terminate her pregnancy. Imagine being faced with that circumstance of not only losing part of your body that was essentially your calling card in your career, but being told to have an abortion as well.

Elizaveta told Vice that she would communicate with her baby and told him about what she had to do.

“He was very active and I would talk to him often while he was in my womb. I had to tell him to stop moving because I couldn’t keep him and then all of a sudden he did. He listened; he stopped moving,” she said.

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Elizaveta and her partner spoke to a different doctor regarding her baby, who they did not want to abort, and the doctor they spoke to advised them they could deliver him early as an option to save him.

She underwent 16 hours of surgery then had reconstruction from bits of skin and tissue from her leg and shoulder. Doctors feared the baby would die due to the amount of anesthesia used on Elizaveta, or at the very least he would be born with some form of disabilities.

Successive surgeries on her jaw all but put an end to Elizaveta’s modeling career, or so she thought. Perhaps you could say it was the end of a traditional modeling career, but who cares about tradition when it comes to an industry that has seen so many diverse types of women and bodies shut out due to narrow standards!

All up Elizaveta had 90% of her jaw removed, and told Vice it took a whole month before she even had the courage to look at herself in the mirror again.

A few surgery complications meant she had to postpone her chemotherapy, and during that time was when she was supposed to have the abortion. But after speaking to a different doctor who convinced her that the baby could be delivered safely despite it only being 28 weeks, they chose to give birth to life instead.

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Her son Valentin was born via C-section and spent a lot of time in the neonatal intensive care unit. In the midst of a horrendous trial, having a healthy baby boy was a welcome bit of joy. There were some traumatizing effects of the surgery that Elizaveta still had to deal with, however.

“Chemo kills all taste buds, so I was not hungry and I couldn’t even chew properly. I was scared to drink because sometimes even water would come out of (the side of my) face and that would really traumatize me, and my stomach shrunk because of the liquid diet. There was no way I could eat at all. I became very malnourished. The mechanical process of eating was terrible,” she shared.

She has trouble speaking and only a few of her bottom teeth remain. In the coming years Elizaveta will have more surgery once her cancer is fully in remission.

When Vice interviewed her it was only 14 months after her whole ordeal, and her life has definitely improved greatly. For starters, she has lived to tell her incredible story and the birth of her son through it all is being hailed as a miracle.

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Her story and image caught the eye of Toronto photographer Manolo Ceron who shot an artistic series of stunning images of Elizaveta and her son as a way to show what true survival and hope looks like.

“We wanted to use art as a tool to tell her story. Eli is the theme. She is the story and everything else is a tool to enhance that beauty and her strength. It shows how fragile we are and how beautiful we are. It’s hard to put one core message in it, but there’s a lot of hope and strength and there are a lot of cancer survivors out there who might take something from this, and maybe that’s what the underlying message is,” he said.

In one of the images Valetin reaches out for his mother in a loving way as she looks upon him with affection. Aside from knowing about her journey, looking at the two you would never know that there was a chance they were never going to meet. Although she made the decision to save her baby, Elizaveta says in the end it was he who saved her.

“He saved my life—He really looked out for me. He gave me a schedule to follow that helped me work on myself without stopping. It didn’t give me a break, but in a good way. It kept me going. I didn’t have time to pity myself. I kind of believe that if I weren’t pregnant, I’d have been treated as another patient who’s going through cancer and needed surgery. He’s the one who took care of me to make sure everyone was on their game.”

While she may not be focusing on her modeling career at the moment, by the looks of the images taken by the photographer, she has an incredibly amazing journey ahead of her, more than any traditional modeling career could bring about.

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  1. Pingback: Powerful Equinox Campaign Features Cancer Survivor Proudly Showing Mastectomy Scars - GirlTalkHQ

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