When Sherrie Walter lost her ear to cancer two years ago, she told herself she’d never be one of those survivors attaching a prosthetic ear every day.
“The concept of having to tape something to my skin every day didn’t feel like that was who I was,” the 42-year-old mother of two told ABC News. “I could just see my kids running around with it, yelling, ‘I have mommy’s ear!'”
But doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore offered Walter a chance at a new ear — a permanent one built from her own tissue.
The groundbreaking procedure, described as one of the most complicated ear constructions in the U.S., involves removing cartilage from the rib cage to form a new ear, which is then placed under the skin of the forearm to grow.
“It was under my arm for about four months,” Walter said. “I just thought I was something from science fiction.”
This week, Walter received some of the finishing touches on her ear, with doctors sculpting and carving tissue to reposition it.
“Family and friends say it looks great,” Walter said. “I’m not looking until the big reveal.”
Walter’s journey began in 2010, when a sore in her left ear was diagnosed as basal-cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. …