It’s a cat scan! Cats found owner’s cancer by poking stomach until she visited doctor and discovered life-threatening disease
A devoted cat owner claims her furry friends have saved her life by finding her cancer.
Stephanie Doody, 55, from Tamworth, Staffs, had no other symptoms but says her three beloved moggies repeatedly nudged her stomach.
When she finally listened to their animals’ intuition, her doctor discovered a tumour on her appendix – a rare cancer that is usually symptomless and normally goes undiagnosed until it is too late.
Stephanie, who has now had surgery and is recovering, said: “They have saved my life.
“I adored them in the first place, but this just made my love for them even stronger.”
Cats Rennie, Dinky and Jaffy first noticed something was wrong in February 2014.
They constantly followed Stephanie around and sat on her lap poking at her abdomen.
Jaffy started laying his head on her stomach as she slept and in July, six months after the cats first indicated a problem, Stephanie found a small lump after losing some weight and headed to her doctor.
Medics at George Elliot Hospital initially believed she had an ovarian cyst, but this was later dismissed, as were ovarian cancer and bowel cancer as possible causes.
With the type of cancer still a mystery, Stephanie needed the support of her husband Jonathan Ball, 65, and one of her step-daughters Kaity, a dermatologist who works with skin cancer sufferers, as well as her cats.
They started researching the symptomless condtiton and Stephanie was eventually diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare cancer of the appendix, at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital in September.
In October she underwent a life-saving 12-hour operation, all thanks to her three pets.
The incredibly complex and invasive operation was carried out by two teams of surgeons who removed a section of her bowel along with her appendix, spleen, gall bladder and cervix.
The procedure also involved a full hysterectomy and left her with a huge scar, which her grandchildren have nicknamed ‘Nana’s zipper’.
But Stephanie says she has her cats to thank for saving her life.
She said: “I absolutely believe the cats knew. The cancer is a molecular change in your body so you give off a different smell that they pick up on and they just try to get your attention.
“For a while my cats had been following me around but that’s normal – they’re cats and that’s what they do.
“But it got more and more intense and for months they stayed with me everywhere I went.
“If wasn’t until the day I got back from the doctors that they disappeared into their normal spots.
“It was as if they were saying, ‘finally, you’ve discovered it’. It was unbelievable.
“The surgery was horrendous and I was in intensive care for a couple of days on morphine but I would have died without it.
“Even thinking was hard work, I couldn’t talk properly or move without becoming exhausted.
“I was overwhelmed by the goodwill and wishes of not just family, but friends and people from work.
“It was unbelievable, they were seriously concerned and upset, not only that I had cancer but that I had to go through all of that.”