Cancer survivor Sandra in Wexford Relay for Life walk

By David tucker

Sandra with husband Jimmy at least year's hospital ball.
Sandra with husband Jimmy at least year's hospital ball.

A WEXFORD woman who had major organs removed after being diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer is to take part in a local fund raiser for the Irish Cancer Society at the end of next month.

Sandra Ennis Kavanagh, from Ballymurn, had the organs removed in a life-saving operation in Basingstoke in the UK after being diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, a rare cancer which which spreads cancerous cells to the lining of the abdominal cavity.

'I had to have my womb, ovaries, spleen, gallbladder, part of my bowel, part of my small intestine, part of my large intestine and my belly button removed,' said the 45-year-old mother of two who had been admitted to Wexford General Hospital with a suspected appendicitis.

'I woke up in ICU,' said Sandra, who then underwent a series of chemotherapy sessions in Wexford before having the major operation in Basingstoke where she spent seven weeks.

At the time Sandra told this newspaper that she wondered whether she was going to make it back to Wexford.

'I remember even asking one of the nurses was I going to make it, as I going to die.

'Things were really bad. It was a tough operation and I had 86 staples in my stomach which had been cut completely open because they had to get everything out, ' she said.

Sandra, who spent three months in a wheelchair following the surgery, is back working part time in the canteen at Wexford General Hospital, but says that more than two years after the operation she is still on medication and gets exhausted very easily.

'I'm clear at the moment,' said Sandra, the mother of James, aged nine, and Aaron, who has just turned eight.

She is taking part in the fund-raising local leg of the Relay for Life at Wexford Park on July 29 and 30 and is anxious to spread the message about the support from the Irish Cancer Society available for people suffering from the disease.

'They helped us pout in a few different ways, helped us to understand what was going on at some very difficult times,' she said.

Sandra said she still wasn't well enough to run in the relay, which will be more about keeping the track going.

'I'm going to walk and will be selling Candle of Hope bags,' she said.

Visit www.cancer.ie/relayforlife.

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