She Couldn’t Lose Her Pot Belly: A Grandmother Discovers a 140 lb Tumor
Prior to the removal of her 140 Ib tumor by surgeons at Lehigh Valley Health, Mary Clancey weighed 365 pounds. On turning 45, something strange started to happen. The 61” Pennsylvanian grandmother who had maintained a lean figure started gaining weight. This was even after giving birth to her two sons.
In one year, she gained five pounds, and continued to pack even more in the subsequent years. She packed more pounds in her abdomen like she was having a mystifying pregnancy. Now 71, Clancey wants to be put in record.
Attempts to Lose Weight
Speaking to The Washing Post through a phone call, Clancey said that the pot belly continued moving on. She started becoming short, round, and fat, she said from her home in St. Clair on Monday.
Clancey blamed it for being put on blood thinners and a heavy carbohydrate diet for several years. However, even after she discontinued using the medicine, She continued to gain weight.
Her family and friends mocked that she should probably lay off the fudge samples at Boscov’s department store. This is where she was working behind the candy counter. But Clancey understood her condition better. She was trying her best not to take any fudge and also tried many diets without success. She could eat more lettuce than a rabbit, Clancey joked.
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She could stand on her feet at work all day. On retiring from Boscov in 2015, her activities became less and her weight gain became even worse. Tending her garden became an uphill task. Then, she could not walk. It reached a point when she could not even stand.
Came one day in November, Clancey could not get out of her bed. Ed, her son, who stays with her, had been watching her weight gain. He called an ambulance and it turned out that Clancey had a blood clot. Its cause stunned the doctors enough to rush Clancey to Lehigh Valley Hospital, about an hour from Allenton, Pennsylvania.
After a CT scan was performed, a mass that was so huge that it couldn’t fit in the picture of the scanner was discovered in her abdomen. This is in reference to physician Richard Boulay who said that he had never seen such a huge thing before.
Clancey was shocked because she had not felt the growth as a tumor-like but something soft that her grandson fancied patting. She had no pain or discomfort, and her stomach just felt fat, Clancey said.
Less Aggressive Cancer
Due to its large size, Boulay suspected it was a low-grade or less aggressive type of cancer. The cyst had grown to an extent that it was pushing Clancey’s diaphragm and other organs, which made breathing difficult. Additionally, it pressed her arteries and veins, putting her at a higher risk of blood clot. At this time, Clancey weighed 365 pounds.
Boulay knew the best he could do is to surgically remove the tumor though its size presented a lot of challenges. He ordered for two operating tables: one for Clancey and another for her tumor. He also knew it had to be rolled out of Clancey’s body because it was too heavy to be lifted.
A scared Clancey went into the theatre on Nov 9 2016. She requested photos of the procedure to be taken so that she could see for herself afterward. The surgery took 5 hours.
After struggling to find a scale that would fit the tumor, doctors discovered that it weight 140 pounds. Randolph Wojcik JR, a plastic surgeon also removed 40 more pounds of excess skin from Clancey’s body. On waking up, Clancey had lost 180 pounds.
Several months after the operation, Clancey is awed by heightened energy levels and her flat stomach. She returned to the hospital to have her story filmed. It is her hope that her story will inspire people to contact their doctor when they notice something wrong.