Woman's rare type of cancer makes her look pregnant

Jemily Brown, 35, is often mistaken for being pregnant.

The mum-of-one isn’t carrying a child. She’s not bloated, either. What looks like a baby bump is actually due to pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare type of cancer that causes her abdomen to swell.

Jemily was diagnosed with the condition in September 2017, after scans detected fluid building up around her abdomen after a period of feeling unwell.

The tumour, known as ‘jelly belly’, was removed in a 12-hour operation in October 2017.

In total Jemily had ten organs removed: large bowel, part of her small bowel, appendix, spleen, umbilicus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, stripped diaphragm and omentum.

In September 2018 she was told that the ‘jelly’ tumour had begun to grow again. Jemily underwent a course of chemotherapy, but in January 2019 was told this had not been successful.

Her only hope is an organ transplant, which will see her stomach, small intestines, large bowel, and pancreas removed along with the tumour.

The procedure has only been carried out 14 times in the world.

Jemily’s family is now raising money to support her during treatment, covering the costs of transport to and from hospital as well as the expenses of recovery.

Jemily said: ‘One of the hardest things for me is how rare this condition is. It’s uncertain territory a lot of the time.

‘The initial surgery took a lot away from me but was worth doing for the 14 months I had afterwards but it now causes me daily problems. I have to take dozens of pills a day and can’t eat solid food anymore.

‘I was in a queue at the bank and the cashier looked at me and asked ‘when’s the baby due?’

‘I said I wasn’t actually pregnant and she got very flustered.

‘I’ve become far more blasé about it. I don’t take it to heart as much, it doesn’t make me cross these days like it used to.

‘It’s not something you ever want to go through but at the same time it’s brought us closer, we definitely appreciate our time together.

‘I’m on edge all the time waiting for the phone call from the hospital.’

Husband Tim, 40, added: ‘Before the operation people came up to us and asked ‘when’s it due?’.

‘Just before she had the operation Jemily and I went out to pick up a new wedding ring as I didn’t want her original one damaged in hospital.

‘The shop assistant looked at us and asked if were getting married because Jemily was having a baby. I was speechless.

‘Jemily said ‘it’s a tumour and it’s coming out on Tuesday’.

‘It’s been pretty life-changing. You have to adapt to what is normal though.

‘She’s kept a positive outlook in pretty horrendous circumstances and she tries to remain positive.

‘It’s hard though to know what she’s gone through and what could still come.

‘Despite that we still try to enjoy things and try and live each day to the full.’

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