A woman from Knoxville, Tennessee has documented her horrific journey with skin cancer through a series of selfies (Warning: The video and photos below are graphic).
When Marisha Dotson, 28, saw a small pimple on her nose, she thought little of it and figured that it would go away on its own in about a week. However, when the pimple began to grow larger, she became worried, the Daily Mail reports.
Her fears were actualized when she visited the doctor and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of squamous cell carcinoma. She was given only a 20 percent chance of survival.
According to the Mayo Clinic, squamous cell carcinoma develops on the skin cells that make up the middle and outer layers of the skin. It is usually not life-threatening and is caused from prolonged exposure to UV light.
Dotson, who lost her mother at age 16, decided to fight the cancer so she could be there for her brother, Daily Mail reports. After the loss of their parents, Dotson acted as the primary caretaker of her brother and didn't want him to lose yet another parental figure.
"Early on, I made a decision that whatever pain I had to go through to live a little longer I would do and also I have a brother to take care of so I have to be around for him," she said.
Dotson underwent a 15-hour surgery to remove the different layers of cancerous tissue. During the surgery, doctors noticed that the cancer had spread deep into the tissue and realized they would have to take out even more than they thought. By the end, Dotson was missing two-thirds of her nose.
She was given facial reconstruction surgery that used skin from her forehead to recreate her nose.
However, even after all that, she wasn't out of the woods just yet. More cancerous spots began to appear on her face.
"I had one big on my cheek, under my right eye, two big ones on top of the bridge of my nose, one above the left side of my nose and then eight smaller ones under my nostrils," Dotson said.
"I went back into surgery to have them removed and came out looking like Frankenstein's monster, they had to take so much out on my nose, nostril and lip that I needed skin grafts."
Nearly 30 surgeries later, Dotson has defied all odds and has been declared officially cancer-free. She has to rely on a temporary mouthpiece to talk and eat.
She has documented every step of her journey through a series of selfies that she complied into a series of YouTube videos to spread awareness about the realities of skin cancer. She also runs an Instagram page in which she documents her progress.
"I've beaten cancer multiple times and overcome some truly scary odds, some of my friends call me 'the walking miracle' and I don't argue with them because it's true," she said.
After years of battling cancer with no insurance, though, Dotson is overwhelmed by medical costs and has been forced to create a GoFundMe to relieve some of the monetary burden.
"It is and has always been extremely difficult to ask for help," she writes. "I have worked hard my entire life to be self sufficient and rely only on myself. However, I know that I would jump in less than a heart beat to help others, so I need to be open enough to give others this same opportunity."
As of Aug. 4, Dotson has raised $19,000 of her $85,000 goal.
Warning: This video contains graphic content.