A cancer survivor has been repeatedly refused an operation by the NHS – despite one leg swelling to three STONE heavier than the other.
Mary-Ann Wood’s left leg began to swell after beating cervical cancer 17 years ago, but it’s now so massive that her calf has a circumference of almost THREE FEET.
The 53-year-old, who can barely walk, has been given a string of excuses as to why she can’t have liposuction for her condition, lymphoedema, including it being a “cosmetic procedure”.
Mary-Ann, of Midhurst, West Sussex, was forced to give up her job working with special needs children while she continues to battle the NHS for the treatment.
While her fight continues she is unable to bend her leg and must carry around the additional weight, which is equivalent to a MICROWAVE.
The grandmother-of-two was rejected just last month by the Independent Complaint Advocacy on the grounds that her case is not “exceptional enough”, she says.
Mary-Ann said: “It’s huge. The surgeon told me the only option is to have the operation.
“I’ve had loads of different excuses, they even said it would be ‘cosmetic’ once. I was also told that I wasn’t ‘exceptional enough’ if to get the op. It’s ridiculous.
“I was told that my best bet of getting the operation is to move to an area where the NHS provide it – it’s a postcode lottery.
“But I’ve got two small grandchildren down the road I don’t want to up sticks.”
Mary’s condition developed because she had lymph nodes removed along with her cervix and her lymphatic system is no longer strong enough to drain her leg of the fluid causing the build-up.
The liposuction would not cure the condition but it would drain the excess fluid from her leg allowing her to walk normally again but without the operation Mary-Ann must continue her daily struggle.
She said: “I get up in the morning and have a massage and put on compression garment – all that takes an hour.
“Then it’s very difficult to walk. It weighs nearly three stone more than it should because it’s filled with lymph fluid.
“I can’t walk any distance and when I do I use a stick. Doctors said that by the time I’m 60 I will be immobilised. Already I can’t move that knee at all.
“I don’t want to go down that road, that’s not what I want out of life, the only option for me is to fight.”
Her fight started in 2013 when massages began failing her and was told she needed the liposuction.
Husband of 26 years Alan Wood, a 48-year-old removal man, must assist her in her daily chores.
A spokesman for the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are very sorry to hear Mrs Wood’s concerns, and we do understand the difficult situation that patients are in when they come to us for individual funding.
“Decisions are not taken lightly, and cases are ?thoroughly considered by a panel of hospital consultants, GPs and lay people.
“We understand this is disappointing for Mrs Wood, but without evidence that the treatment would be clinically effective, the panel could not approve the treatment.”
Mary-Ann is trying to raise £2,500 to get a machine to massage her leg but has so far raised just £220.