His gut told him it wasn’t a beer belly.
Kevin Daly, a financial planner from Hoboken, knew something wasn’t right when he shed 34 pounds after an open-heart surgery in 2015 — but his protruding belly didn’t shrink an ounce.
“I thought they literally left stuffing and tools in me from surgery,” Daly, 63, told the Daily News Friday.
He said everyone dismissed the persistent paunch as a “beer belly,” the type of stubborn visceral fat that often comes with changing hormones and age.
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“I don’t even like beer,” he explained. “I was lean. I’m 6’3″ and very athletic.”
Through a combination of diet and exercise, the former varsity jock at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens went from about 230 down to 198 pounds after his heart surgery.
His nagging intuition refused to let go. Eventually, he convinced Dr. Varinder Singh, the chair of cardiovascular medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, to order a CAT scan, over the objections of his insurance.
The results left Daly feeling “vindicated and scared.” A 12-pound tumor had invaded his midsection.
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During surgery in December, doctors discovered it was nearly triple the size they estimated.
The 30-pound monster mass had also wrapped around one of Daly’s kidneys.
It took the strength of two residents to hold it aloft while Dr. Julio Teixeira painstakingly cut it out over four hours.
The “enormous” tumor was the largest Teixeira had ever removed.
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“It’s one thing to see the picture. It’s another thing to actually have it in your hands,” the amazed doctor told The News.
“Now they tell me it took ten to fifteen years to grow. And they never really get to that size (because) something else usually fails,” Daly explained.
On Friday, Daly attended his first post-op MRI with a News reporter by his side.
“They did a good job,” MRI technician Gregory Seid said as they reviewed the first images at Lenox Hill.
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Daly called it a “gigantic relief” to see the scans with his organs back in their intended spots.
“Now, they’re all in the right place,” he said. “Before the surgery, my left descending colon was pushed under my sternum. I could touch it through my skin to make my food digest.”
Stabilized at about 187 pounds, Daly said he’s “never felt better.”
“I’m back down to my college weight, which is awesome,” he marveled.
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