A MUM of two has told how she needed 19 hours of surgery to remove a one-stone cancerous tumour and seven organs.
Sandra Currie, 44, had a “one in a million” tumour that was putting so much pressure on her lungs she was struggling to breathe.
As well as removing the growth, doctors took out her gall bladder, spleen, omentum, appendix, part of her diaphragm, ovaries, and uterus.
The surgery was followed by a groundbreaking new chemotherapy “wash” treatment which could only be carried out in England.
Sandra, from Dunfermline, Fife, has made a remarkable fight back to fitness and health since the surgery in 2014.
The digital marketing consultant, married to Gordon, 47, has decided to speak out in a bid to make the same treatment available north of the border.
Sandra said she had been feeling under the weather and had gained three stone in weight over a couple of years.
She said: “I woke up on one morning and when I looked down I looked pregnant. I just woke up with this mass. It had flared up into a big pregnancy shape overnight.
“I measured three months pregnant overnight and that was in February.”
A date for exploratory surgery was set for 1st April 2013 and Sandra was admitted to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Fortunately, the surgeon had previously encountered a rare form of cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei, or PMP, and was able quickly to diagnose Sandra’s massive tumour.
The cancer, the same one that killed screen legend Audrey Hepburn in 1993, usually begins in the appendix and then bursts through it to attack other organs. It produces a mucus-like fluid which was the reason Sandra’s body had swollen up.
She said: “They told me the prognosis wasn’t good and of course I went home and Googled it, which was the worst thing I could ever have done.”
“I was told I needed surgery, and needed it as soon as possible.”
Nowhere in Scotland offered the treatment she needed, and Sandra was forced to go to hospital almost 500 miles away in Basingstoke, Hants, in July 2014.
Afterwards, surgeons poured a heated chemotherapy fluid into the abdominal cavity to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
The pioneering “chemo bath” treatment is only available at the hospital in Basingstoke and at Christies Hospital, Manchester.
She said: “When I woke up after surgery it was the worst I had ever felt in my life, it was horrible.
“There was tubing everywhere and I had 60 staples in my stomach. I was so determined to get home for the kids and I got back in less than two weeks, which is virtually unheard of.
“It was a very long recovery time. It wasn’t until six months to a year afterwards that I started to feel normal.”
Sandra is now cancer-free but understandably worried that the disease will return. She has regular scans
A week ago, it was revealed the “chemo bath” treatment, which cures up to 50% of certain types of cancer previously thought to be terminal, will be rolled out across England.
Sandra said she wanted the same treatment to be available in Scotland.
She said: “It’s only available in two places in England.
“There’s nowhere in Scotland I could have gone to. It’s an amazing treatment for people who were fit and healthy before.
“It’s definitely worth it for the life you can get back.”