‘Covid and cancer delayed our wedding day, but now it’s the third time we’re lucky thanks to robotic surgery’

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It’s a third lucky break for Paul Hutchinson, who will finally tie the knot with fiancé Lisa Bamforth at St John’s Church in Poulton-le-Fylde next weekend, after coronavirus and cancer combined delayed the couple’s big day.

When first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013, a follow-up scan earlier this year showed the disease had spread to his abdominal lymph nodes.
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Traditional treatment included major abdominal surgery, which involves intensive care, a seven-day hospital stay and a recovery time at home of several months.

But now the groom will make it to the church on time and in good health thanks to a groundbreaking ‘robot operation’ at Manchester’s internationally acclaimed cancer center, The Christie.

The groundbreaking robotic surgery with keyhole surgery, led by a surgeon and performed by the intricate robotic machines, is considered one of the first of its kind in the UK and took place earlier this month.

It meant a hospital stay of just 48 hours, followed by a recovery time of just a few weeks at home, so the senior engineer at Amazon could prepare for the big day with his fiancé and his two daughters, Libbie and Lucie.

Hutchinson, 35, said: “It was clearly a huge shock to hear that the cancer had returned. When you hear that the hospital is trying to get hold of you after a follow-up scan, you know it won’t be good news.

“I really thought we couldn’t go through with the wedding because I was convinced I wouldn’t be good enough. The incredible robotic surgery drastically reduced my recovery time and left me feeling fit and good. I was in the military when I was first diagnosed and keeping fit has always been important to me. Now I feel fine, fit and healthy and looking forward to the big day.”

Aziz Gulamhusein, consultant urologic and robotic surgeon at The Christie, who operates the machines for Paul’s surgery (Photo: The Christie)

Ms Bamforth, a teacher at Blackpool and Fylde College, said she was in tears when the surgeon called to tell her about the success of the procedure. The robot provides a highly magnified, 3D image allowing extra dexterity to ensure careful removal of cancerous nodes while preserving nerves and enhanced recovery with a much shorter recovery time.

Ms Bamforth said: “The news that he needed this surgery, after successful chemotherapy and surgery in 2014, came completely out of the blue and we thought we would have to cancel the wedding again.

“This will actually be our third attempt at getting married as Covid has played a part in us having to rearrange everything. It’s going to be the most special day ever and I can’t wait to celebrate it at the reception with our family and friends at The Glass House in Staining.”

Aziz Gulamhusein, consultant urologic and robotic surgeon at The Christie, said: “This was a first for The Christie when we turned on our state-of-the-art robotic equipment to assist us with the precision needed for a complex procedure required for Paul’s cancer. To be involved in such a highly specialized procedure using the latest technology is a great achievement for the team and the Trust, and most importantly benefiting Paul, who will now be able to enjoy his wedding day in just a few weeks. “

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