Grandma Dorothy Horsman is celebrating the all-clear from cancer – nine years after doctors told her she had only two months to live!
Mrs Horsman’s world turned upside down when doctors told her the devastating news that there was nothing they could do to save her.
The mother-of-two, of Clayton, who found out she had cancer after discovering a tiny painful swelling in her foot, was 55 when she was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct, which had spread to her liver.
Mrs Horsman, whose daughters were aged 18 and 22 at the time, feared she would not see her girls marry – one since has and she is now also the proud grandma of four-year-old Gabriel.
Despite being distraught after the diagnosis she never gave up her faith and the day after getting the heartbreaking news her doctor called to say he might know someone who could help her.
He put her in touch with internationally-renowned liver surgery consultant, Professor Peter Lodge at Spire Leeds Hospital in Roundhay who carried out what was then a pioneering eight-hour operation a few days after Christmas 2005.
Her husband of 39 years, Ronny, said: “It sounds strange but the longer she was in surgery the more hope it gave us because we knew if she had only been a short time it would mean they had found the cancer to be inoperable.”
Prof Lodge said: “If Dorothy had not had the surgery it is my opinion that she may only have had a few weeks to live. At the time this was the largest liver operation I had performed.
“In fact I had to remove more than 80 per cent of Dorothy’s liver and also removed the bile duct and created a new one and took away lymph glands from around the liver to make sure we had cleared everything.”
He added: “It took myself and my surgical team beyond boundaries at that time of what had been done before. Although very rare in 2005 we are doing this type of surgery more commonly today and Leeds has an international reputation now for dealing with difficult liver tumours.”
Operating on Mrs Horsman’s rare form of cancer – a tumour called a neuroendocrine carcinoma – carried a ten per cent risk of death during the procedure, about 20 times the risk of heart surgery.
After the operation Mrs Horsman stayed in hospital for almost three months and made a steady recovery without any chemotherapy or radiography.
She said: “Prof Lodge saved my life and I can not praise him highly enough. I feel so lucky as I might not have lived to see my grandson. He brings a smile to my face every day!”