Darren Wilkinson was so afraid of going to the dentist that he put it off for 27 years. That had fatal consequences.
For nearly three decades, Darren Wilkinson (51) from Sheffield, England, avoided going to the dentist like the plague. “I tried to register him there for years,” recalls his two-year-old wife Mel, speaking to Mirror.co.uk. But without success.
Only after a 27-year break did the 51-year-old take a seat on the treatment chair – and clearly too late, as it turned out. The dentist discovered a “massive shadow” the size of a clenched fist on the X-ray. Even the doctor had never seen anything like it. The shock diagnosis followed after several tests: The lower jaw of the 51-year-old had been completely devoured by an ameloblastoma, an invasive tumor.
“The most dreary day of my life”
“Every morning there was a little blood on his upholstery, and sometimes he had really bad breath,” Mel said over the past few years. But she was not really worried: “I thought he just didn’t brush his teeth properly.”
“Getting the diagnosis was absolutely terrible. He was not allowed to eat anything solid because his jaw was so thin in some places that he would only break,” the wife continues, adding: “I took him to the hospital and I am drove away – it was the longest and most desolate day of my life. “
Blood poisoning and six emergency surgeries
The tumor should then be removed as soon as possible at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital in Sheffield. After a delay due to the Corona outbreak, the Briton was finally able to go to the operating room in April this year. During the complicated procedure, the physicians had to remove 90 percent of his lower jaw and all teeth in order to catch the last remnant of the tumor. The 51-year-old used titanium plates as a replacement.
Just a week after the operation, Darren had to be taken to the emergency room again. He had developed life-threatening sepsis (blood poisoning). A total of six emergency surgeries due to complications and other infections were subsequently required to stabilize his condition.
“Don’t go through the same thing as me”
Darren Wilkinson is now back home. But everyday life is a horror for him and his wife: “If I look into his mouth now, I can clearly see the exposed metal plates, wires and the dead bones,” quotes the “Mirror” Mel. Darren can neither eat nor drink or even talk. In addition, his tongue was so swollen that he could hardly breathe.
Nevertheless, the 51-year-old has not given up hope. On social media networks, he is now fighting for better early detection of such tumors and is warning other people against having doctor visits stopped. “Doesn’t go through the same thing as I do,” he writes on the Change.org platform. “I still need treatment to have my jaw reconstructed. That changed my life.”