A woman who faced bullying due to her resemblance to a "squirrel" has undergone a $200,000 surgery, wherein her jaw was replaced with fat from her stomach. Now, she expresses feeling "beautiful."
Izzy Sehon, now 22, was just two years old when her mother, Cherise Gerrard, 60, noticed that her jaw wasn't well-defined and appeared "unusual."
By the age of eight, her problems had intensified. She experienced considerable jaw and joint discomfort, and she grappled with challenges in eating, breathing, and sleeping.
Izzy shared: "I haven't been able to crunch or bite down with my top teeth since I was aged 10. I haven't been able to bite an apple since I was eight. I struggled to crunch and chew a chocolate bar."
"I didn't understand why people didn't want to be my friend or guys wouldn't want to date me. They would compare my side profile to a squirrel and call me 'no chin'. My family always told me I was beautiful," she added.
She visited numerous orthodontists and wore braces around "six times" during her life.
In June 2020, a doctor finally identified her condition as idiopathic condylar resorption (ICR), a rare ailment that leads to the breakdown of jaw bones.
Izzy received a blunt comment about her appearance: "someone who had got blown up in war," due to her TMG joint – the two connections linking the lower jaw to the skull – being "non-existent."
In February 2023, she underwent a bilateral total jaw joint replacement surgery. This intricate procedure involved dividing her jaw in four spots, taking out her original jaw, and implanting custom-made artificial joints.
During the 12.5-hour surgery, Izzy also received fat grafts from her stomach to cushion her new TMG joint. She financed the $200,000 (£160k) surgery through her insurance.
Izzy is now content with her new facial appearance and envisions being able to take a bite of a caramel apple for the first time in 14 years.
"I was terrified to look at myself at first. I didn't look for five days and made my dad, John Sehon, put sheets and towels over the mirrors in the hospital," she confessed.
After the surgery, Izzy spent five days in the hospital due to an allergic reaction to her medication before she could return home.
For a week, she couldn't talk and had limited mouth movement, but she has been diligently practicing jaw exercises daily.
"I couldn't speak at all. I was non-verbal for seven days. I then started mumbling. My voice changed a lot – it's more high-pitched," she said.
"I started breaking down when I first saw myself. I thought 'that wasn't me'. Now I'm feeling happy with how it's starting to look. It's life changing."
"A lot of guys have come in my DMs post-surgery. And people now saying we should go out. But where were you before? 'I know who my friends are.'"