A morbidly obese woman has shared her 35st weight loss journey after doctors were forced to cut off her tongue because she was too large for surgery.
Jen Costa put on 25st over 14 years by gorging on takeaways every day after she suffered a horrific car crash.
The 35-year-old was so large that she was unable to stand up in the shower and had to have her partner wash her with a sponge as she sat on a chair.
Then one day when she went to complete a takeaway order on the phone, she noticed a pain in her mouth which was a tiny white lump on her tongue.
Jen, then 46st and wore size 9XL, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the tongue but was told she was too fat for surgery and radiation.
Refusing to let her health take over, Jen visited a dozen hospitals across New York, US, before a doctor agreed to help.
Following a 19 hour operation to remove most of her tongue, Jen was unable to eat solid food which forced her on a liquid diet.
She said: “I was handed a death sentence and it’s ended up saving my life.
“What started as the darkest period of my life soon revealed itself as my biggest blessing in disguise. I used to be addicted to food. I abused the privilege to eat.
“After the car accident I was completely bed-bound and ordered a takeaway every single day. Now I have no choice. I can’t eat anything but it’s a blessing. I’ve lost 35st.
“God allowed me to battle cancer and to make me appreciate all that I took for granted in my life. Beforehand I was obese, sad, miserable, depressed and angry.
“But the cancer has made me strong and humble. I have no taste in my mouth – it’s just a lump in my mouth which is just there.
“I miss pizza, I miss ordering a Chinese and I miss the taste of my Grandma’s chicken. But despite that I’m just so much happier.”
Despite “always being a bit chubby”, Jen was still an active person during her teenage years.
But everything changed for her when she was hit by a car on a public highway which saw her left knee snap and ligaments tear in half.
She lost movement in her lower half for a year and then struggled with putting weight on her leg, placing her into depression and making her turn to food for comfort.
For the past two and a half years, Jen has been on a liquid shakes diet which has seen her weight drop from 46st to an impressive 12st.
She continued: “I just know if I wasn’t told I had cancer, I wouldn’t be here today. I would have just continued sitting there eating my life away.
“I’ve lost the ability to taste and chew things properly. But I took advantage of that when I had it. Because I’m not eating as much, I have so much excess skin.
“I’ve had a few skin removal surgeries which has helped me lose the weight. The diagnosis just turned my life completely around.
“I had to die a little in order to learn to appreciate how it felt to be truly alive. I’m alive for the very first time in my life.”