Glenn Williams suffered years of misery as every time he coughed a hernia the size of a football popped out of his stomach.
The 67-year-old was left with the gigantic bulge, which measured 20cm x 30cm, following complications from his bowel cancer surgery.
Divorced Glenn, from Leicester, said: “My life when I had the hernia made me quite depressed, as it got bigger and bigger and I found I could do less and less because the weight of it.
“It caused me to suffer with back ache, dizzy spells, aches in legs, it was just horrible.
“I had different belts to try and keep it in but nothing worked.”
The giant lump on his stomach was so obvious that Glenn even got on the wrong side of the law.
He explained: ”People accused my of shoplifting, they thought I was hiding something.
“On another occasion when I had my Jack Russell terrier with me someone asked why I hadn’t given him the football and someone even asked when my twins were due.
“People would stare at me where ever I went. It affected me not only mentally, and physically, but emotionally too.
“It was highly embarrassing and depressing. It was awful.”
The dad-of-two was originally told that his hernia couldn’t be operated on but last summer he was referred to consultant plastic surgeon Graham Offer who told him about a ground-breaking new procedure.
Glenn went under the knife for a complex six-hour procedure which involved splitting the muscle layers of the abdomen and moving them over each other, rather like a sandwich with three layers, on a type of mesh.
Glenn said: ”I thought the hernia was just something I would have to live with after my bowel cancer operation. But at last I can look in the mirror again and not find my reflection repulsive.
“I am over the moon, having a normal body not having people stare at me is just amazing.”
Meanwhile leading specialist Graham said that Glenn’s hernia was the biggest one that he’d ever operated on.
He said: ”It was one of the biggest ones you can get. We had to close the 20cm x 30cm gap in the abdominal wall.
“A few years ago hernias like Glenn’s would have been inoperable.
“In looking to operate on bigger and bigger hernias, I brought together the three main hernia surgery techniques used in abdominal wall reconstruction and developed a method to combine them which means that we can now operate on patients who would have otherwise been told that nothing could be done.”