A model who had eight organs removed in the "mother of all surgeries" feared she would not survive. 

When Faye Louise, from Horsham, found out she had cancer last year, she began planning her funeral.

The 38-year-old said: "In my mind, there was only one outcome. I’d lost my mum to bowel cancer 18 months earlier. I thought history would repeat itself so I kept looking at funeral plans. I told my partner Will I probably wouldn’t make 50, or even 45."

Faye, who also works as a flight dispatcher at Gatwick, had been fit and well up until last spring when she began to have pains and bloating which she put down to her period.

Her GP asked if she had ever had appendicitis and Faye told her she had not, so the GP referred her for an ultrasound which revealed an ovarian cyst filled with fluid.

The Argus: Faye told her partner will she wouldn't make 50 or 45Faye told her partner will she wouldn't make 50 or 45 (Image: CRUK)

She was then referred to Crawley Hospital for a CT scan and while waiting for the results Faye suffered more pain and light-headedness but was given strong painkillers.

When the results of the CT scan came through, they confirmed she had a 17cm cyst on the left ovary and she would need a laparotomy – a surgical incision in the abdominal cavity - as surgeons did not want to risk rupturing the cyst with keyhole surgery.

They also said they could see some swelling in the appendix, so while they operated, they would also remove her appendix.

The Argus: Faye was terrified when she heard 'the dreaded C word'Faye was terrified when she heard 'the dreaded C word' (Image: CRUK)

“I went in for the operation on the cyst, thinking I’d be home and done. Little did I know what was coming,” said Faye.

“The next day changed my life forever. On August 8, I heard the dreaded C word.

“The surgeon explained they had taken the cyst out and it was full of fluid but was just a normal cyst. But she said she had to leave the appendix in.

“And then she said ‘I’m really sorry Faye - we found a cancer.’ I was so shocked. The walls felt they was closing in on me.

“The doctors said they found a tumour in my appendix. They were shocked too as they never expected it all. They said they had left it in to prevent it from rupturing and leaking cells into other organs. I asked if I was going to die.

“They explained I had an appendix tumour and small deposits on the outside of my small bowel. She said I’d had the tumour for a while and it was growing slowly.

“While the cancer was contained, there was the risk of it breaking through my appendix wall.”

The Argus: Faye needed an operation colloquially known as 'the mother of all surgeriesFaye needed an operation colloquially known as 'the mother of all surgeries (Image: CRUK)

Faye returned home but it was an agonising five-week wait before she got the results.

In that time the tumour ruptured, spreading cancer cells around her body and she was diagnosed with the very rare and potentially fatal cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP).

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Faye needed an operation colloquially known as “the mother of all surgeries”, which involved removing eight of her organs – appendix, part of liver, spleen, gallbladder, full hysterectomy, bowel resection, scraped diaphragm, scraped pelvis and her greater and lesser omentum.

She is now cancer-free and starting to rebuild her life. She has been recovering at home with her partner Will and their golden retriever Neville and has just returned to work.

The Argus: Faye and her best friend her golden retriever NevilleFaye and her best friend her golden retriever Neville (Image: CRUK)

Faye said: “The scar I have makes it impossible to continue modelling. I’ve also had to learn to walk again.

“I’ve basically had to reset my life. But it’s also made me passionate about spreading the word about this, the signs and symptoms of this type of cancer and cancer in younger people. And highlight the need to fund more life-saving treatments in years to come.

The 38-year-old is launching Cancer Research UK’s 2024 Race for Life season and calling on others to join her. 

She will sound the horn to start the Race for Life in Stanmer Park, Brighton, on June 30, and will be taking part in the run.

The Argus: Faye will be running Brighton's Race for LifeFaye will be running Brighton's Race for Life (Image: CRUK)

People of all ages and abilities are welcome to take part in Race for Life in Brighton and at other events around Sussex, including Worthing, Horsham, Crawley, Eastbourne and Hastings.

Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK’s Sussex spokeswoman, said: “We’re really grateful to Faye for her support and know her story will make an impact on people who hear it.  

“No matter how cancer affects us, life is worth racing for. Sadly nearly one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Race for Life has the power not only to transform lives, but to save them. We’re proud that Race for Life has already helped double survival rates in the UK.   

“We’d love for people from all over Sussex to join us at Race for Life. There is an event for everyone and we mean everyone - walk, jog, run or take on the course however it suits you.”