Allen Perritt has a need for speed. He turned his passion into a career as a commercial pilot. He was about to get in the cockpit for a 15-hour flight to China when he felt a pain in his side.
"We have an infirmary at the airport, and they examined me," said Allen Perritt.
It turned out to be cancer which spread from his appendix to the membrane that lines the abdomen or peritoneum. Doctors say when this happens, the cancer ends up smothering all of the organs around the stomach.
"They closed me up and sent me home: 'We can't fix you, sir. Have a good day,'" said Perritt.
That's when he found Doctor Armando Sardi. He performs a risky 12-hour operation to save those sent home by others to die.
"This is an operation and a treatment that has the potential for anything you can imagine, but the alternative is death," said Armando Sardi, M.D., Director, Institute for Cancer Care Mercy Medical Center.
Surgeons make a 15-inch incision from the chest to the pelvis and remove as much of the tumor as possible.
"We start cleaning, organ by organ," Dr. Sardi said.
What they can't remove by hand they use heated chemo to kill. It's circulated through the abdomen for 90 minutes then washed out.
"The heat alone kills cancer cells but also enhances the effect of chemotherapy," said Dr. Sardi.
It's used to treat appendix, colon, gastric and ovarian cancers that have spread to the abdominal wall.
"To hear that I could be cured was like, I can do this. I'm only 43 years old. I do have the rest of my life," said Tracy Kyle.
Tracy and Allen say recovery is brutal. A year and a half later, Allen's cancer-free and relishing his second chance.
For more information: Ivanhoe Broadcast News2745 W. Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park, FL 32789http://www.ivanhoe.com Melissa Medalie, Supervising Producer Medical Newsmmedalie@ivanhoe.comDirect Line: (407) 691-1516Viewer Line: (407) 740-0789 ext. 579