Two and a half years ago, neither Annie or Jim had heard of pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). In November 2017, Jim was diagnosed with a high-grade appendix tumour that was the first stage of the disease.
The following February, Jim underwent cytoreductive surgery at Basingstoke Hospital in order to prevent PMP from developing further. This was a seven-hour operation involving removing the right side of the colon, the right peritonea (lining of the abdomen) and the greater omentum (a large apron-like fold of visceral peritoneum that hangs down from the stomach). This was followed by hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) where heated chemotherapy is pumped directly into the abdomen after surgery.
After just under a month in hospital, Jim returned home to recuperate and, after being cared for by Annie, is now back to full strength with only annual scans required to keep an eye on things. Jim was lucky that his tumour was caught at its early stages and that he could have preventative treatment. Whilst on the specialist PMP unit at Basingstoke both Jim and Annie met with others who were not so fortunate and were fighting their own battles against the disease.
Roll forward to 2020 when they had both decided to take part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM) and secured places to run in aid of Pseudomyxoma Survivor. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race was put on hold. Never two to be deterred by such challenges, Jim and Annie pledged to run half a marathon locally. We’re really pleased to tell you that despite a few more hills than they would have liked with only a couple of horses and a Llama to cheer them along they managed it. It was a very different experience to completing the LLHM and we’re very grateful to both them and their friends and family for their support.
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I had no outward sign that this mass was inside my abdomen
Following an abnormal smear, I was referred to my local gynaecological oncology centre where an ultrasound scan revealed a complex mass believed to be ovarian in nature.
Too young for cancer
It’s tough being only 20 years old and an appendix cancer patient at that. Mainly because no one expects or even wants to believe you could even end up developing cancer, and the worst culprits are medical professionals. True, the odds are so low it’s a waste of time to even bother, but that ‘waste of time’ could have cost me my life!
My waist kept expanding over a period of seven months
I was working as a daybaker and would come home and fall asleep on the sofa soon after I got home. I was exhausted and, despite exercising regularly and when my mother asked me if I was pregnant I began to feel unsettled. I also experienced some back pain that felt like my muscles were torn apart (like Velcro).