LOS ANGELES — Girlfriends Films performer and director Elexis Monroe (pictured in green dress) in November was diagnosed by doctors to have an abscess growing in the bones of her face, an infection resulting from bad dental work done years ago.
The news was dire and required emergency surgery to prevent facial disfigurement and the spread of the infection into Monroe’s bloodstream.
For Monroe, the single-mother of a ten-year-old daughter, going under the knife that would tear into her jaw bone to drain the infection, remove compromised bone and attempt to save her nasal cavity and hearing, was alarmingly surreal.
“I never knew anything about this whatsoever until it happened to me,” Monroe told XBIZ, while on the set of a benefit volume of Girlfriends Films’ “Lesbian Sex,” proceeds of which will go towards Monroe’s medical expenses.
“I go to the dentist. I brush my teeth. I eat healthy. I don’t do drugs. It was the last thing I expected, but one day I was shooting and the next I couldn’t open my jaw.”
The infection, doctors told Monroe, developed over time as bacteria from faulty bridge work ate away at her jaw bone and invaded the soft tissue of her face. Though the abscess has since been drained, Monroe must still undergo two more bone grafting surgeries.
“The first surgery drained the infection and took some bone out,” Monroe said. “I now need two surgeries to save whatever little bone I have left… I lost a lot. The left side of my sinus cavity is gone and I am having trouble hearing on my left side.
“I was so terrified the infection would get in my blood or go to my heart; I have never been that terrified in my life.”
Making matters worse is Monroe’s lack of health insurance to cover her surgeries and care.
“For someone to tell you ‘yeah, you need 20-to-30 grand to fix your face or you will possibly lose your hearing, sense of smell and taste buds is pretty freaky.”
But, Monroe is getting by with a little help from her friends, namely her Girlfriends.
Girlfriends Films owner Dan O'Connell, who shares a professional and personal relationship with Monroe, was quick to help his friend.
“I knew she didn’t have health insurance,” O’Connell told XBIZ. “We wanted to figure out what we could do. We decided to produce a benefit movie. Our eight girls would forfeit half of their fees, and Girlfriends Films would match each of those contributions.”
The response from talent — more than 30 girls — was overwhelmingly supportive, and not only moved Monroe to tears, but gave her much needed strength for the surgeries to come.
“It’s helped my attitude,” she said. “I was pretty freaked out.”
The performers on set during XBIZ’s visit included Sinn Sage, Zoey Holloway, Aaliyah Love and Lily Cade, whose own fundraising efforts for Monroe can be found on LilyCade.com.
“When I heard about Elexis' illness and need for surgery I wanted to help out in any way I could,” Cade told XBIZ. “I am thrilled to be a part of the benefit movie and hope it is a huge success.
“[Monroe] was my first professional scene partner back when I was this hairy legged little baby-dyke who had no idea how to do makeup and had to go out and buy lingerie for the scene because I didn’t own any.”
Sage, who in 2009 underwent surgery after suffering a head injury while snowboarding, also spoke of her history with Monroe during an interview segment of her scene with Holloway, noting Monroe’s support following her accident.
“I’m very proud of all the girls that stepped up to help,” O’Connell said. “I’ve always wanted to broadcast how great the talent is in our business. We’re such a vilified industry; we have to try especially hard to make a good impression on the general public, but if people could see our true colors in these situations, it may change their minds.”
The benefit video, slated for release in January, also stars Samantha Ryan, Sovereign Syre, Elle Alexandra and Jessie Andrews.
Monroe told XBIZ she’d like to perform in a couple of scenes before her next surgery, but would be happy if she can at least complete work on her next two directorial projects: “Lesbian Storytime Theater 2 and “Two Mommies 2.”
“The good thing about all this is that I’ve got a lot of writing done,” Monroe said. “If I can’t perform for awhile it’s going to be devastating for me, but I know that I’ll be able to direct and write. If I can do that every month, I’ll be very content.”
For updates on Monroe's condition and to make donations, click here.