Life changing operation has Midhurst’s Mary-Ann back in boots

Mary-Ann pictured this week
Mary-Ann pictured this week

Mary-Ann Wood is wearing boots for the first time in 18 years.

She is taking her grand children to the recreation ground and her electric buggy is gathering dust in the porch.

Mary-Ann before the operation

Mary-Ann before the operation

“It’s amazing, I simply cannot believe it - I still look at my leg and go ‘wow’,” she said.

It is all down to a life changing operation which the Midhurst grandmother says, is partly thanks to press overage in the Observer.

The Observer highlighted Mary-Ann’s plight in February 2015 when she revealed her 18 year battle with lymphoedema after surviving cancer. It left her with so much fluid in one leg it weighed more than two stone, in constant pain and barely able to walk.

She was told by a leading specialist unless she had the liposuction for lymphoedema operation she would be immobile by the age of 60. But the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group refused to fund the £12,000 operation because they said there was no evidence it would be effective.

Shortly after the press coverage, the group did a U-turn.

And before Christmas she eventually underwent the operation in Dundee, where Alex Munnoch, the only surgeon in the UK doing it under the NHS, is based.

As the Observer went to press yesterday Mary-Ann and her husband Alan were on their way back to Dundee for a check-up: “I already know it’s been an enormous success,” said Mary-Ann, “I have been up to Scotland four times since the operation to have my leg measured. The last time the swelling had more or less gone altogether.”

She said she realised it had been successful the night of the operation: “I had to wear heavy strapping and dressings but even with all that I could see it was smaller.”

She is walking without crutches and most of the pain has gone. “My son gave me boots for Christmas which was amazing - I have not been able to wear them for 18 years.

“Last week I walked with my grand children to the play area - last time I was on my scooter. I feel a different person.”

And recently she won ‘slimmer of the week’ at her slimming club: “it was a bit unfair because last time I was weighed, my leg weighed two stone, but that’s what the computer said and we all had a laugh about it.”

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